Thirty years or more of the present century had passed before the Church awoke to put its material house in order, to improve and beautify its churches, and to improve the character of its services. Church buildings and Church services, as they are remembered by men yet of middle age, were very much the same at the close of the Georgian period as they were at its beginning. Much, therefore, of the present chapter will exhibit a state of things in many respects perfectly familiar to men who are still in the prime of life. Our great-great-grandfathers would have felt quite at home in many of the churches which we remember in our childhood. They would find now a great deal that was strange to them. Though Prayer-book and Rubrics remain the same, Church spirit in our day does not own very much in common with that which most generally prevailed during the reigns of the four Georges.
In a Church like this of England, where so much liberty of thought and diversity of opinion has ever been freely conceded to bishops and clergy as well as to its lay members, there has never failed to be, to some extent at least, a corresponding variety in the outward surroundings of public worship. From the beginning of the Reformation to the present day, the three principal varieties of Church opinion known in modern phraseology as 'High,' 'Low,' and 'Broad' Church have never ceased to co-exist within its borders. One or other of the three parties has at times been very depressed, while another has been popular and predominant. But there has never been any external cause to prevent the revival of the one, or to make it impossible that the other should not, with changing circumstances, lose its temporary supremacy. In the eighteenth century there were, from beginning to end, men of each of these three sections. The old Puritanism was almost obsolete; but there were always Low Churchmen, not only in the earlier, but in the modern sense of the word. High Churchmen, in the seventeenth-century and Laudean meaning, were no doubt few and far between by the time the century had run through half its course. But they were not wholly confined to the Nonjuring 'remnant,' and High Churchmen of a less pronounced type never ceased to abound. Broad Churchmen, of various shades of opinion, were always numerous. Only each and every party in the Church was weakened and diluted in force and purpose by a widespread deficiency in warmth of feeling and earnestness of conviction. Hot party feeling is no doubt a mischief; but exemption from it is dearly bought by the levelling influences of indifference, or of the lukewarmness which approaches to it. The Church of the eighteenth century, and of the Georgian period in general, was by no means deficient in estimable clergymen who lived and died amid the well-earned respect of parishioners and neighbours. But the tendencies of the time were in favour of a decent, unexacting orthodoxy, neither too High, nor too Broad, nor too Low, nor too strict. It may be well imagined that this feeling among the clergy should also find outward expression in the general character of the churches where they ministered, and of the services in which they officiated. A traveller interested in modes of worship might have passed through county after county, from one parish church to another, and would have found, as compared with the present time, a singular lack of variety. No doubt he would see carelessness and neglect contrasting in too many places with a more comely order in others. He would very rarely notice any disposition to develop ritual, to vary forms, and to make use of whatever elasticity the laws of the Church would permit, in order to make the externals of worship a more forcible expression of one or another school of thought.
Our forefathers in the eighteenth century were almost always content to maintain in tolerable, or scarcely tolerable repair, at the lowest modicum of expense, the existing fabrics of their churches. It has been truly remarked, that 'to this apathy we are much indebted; for, after all, they took care that the buildings should not fall to the ground; if they had done more, they would probably have done worse.' For ecclesiastical architecture was then, as is well known, at its lowest ebb. 'Public taste,' wrote Warburton to Hurd in 1749, 'is the most wretched imaginable.' He was speaking, at the time, of poetry. But poetry and art are closely connected; and it is next to impossible that depth of feeling and grandeur of conception should be found in the one, at a date when there is a marked deficiency of them in the other. There were, however, special reasons for the decline of church architecture. It had become, for very want of exercise, an almost forgotten art. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the work of building churches had been prosecuted with lavish munificence; so much so, that the Reformed Church succeeded to an inheritance more than doubly sufficient for its immediate wants. A period, therefore, of great activity in this respect was followed by one of nearly total cessation. In England no church was erected of the smallest pretensions to architectural design between the Reformation and the great fire of London in 1666, with the solitary exception of the small church in Covent Garden, erected by Inigo Jones in 1631. 'During the eighty years that elapsed from the death of Henry VIII. to the accession of Charles I., the transition style left its marks in every corner of England in the mansions of the nobility and gentry, and in the colleges and schools which were created out of the confiscated funds of the monasteries; but, unfortunately for the dignity of this style, not one church, nor one really important public building or regal palace, was erected during the period which might have tended to redeem it from the utilitarianism into which it was sinking. The great characteristic of this epoch was, that during its continuance architecture ceased to be a natural mode of expression, or the occupation of cultivated intellects, and passed into the state of being merely the stock in trade of certain professional experts. Whenever this is so, 'Addio Maraviglia!' The reign of Puritanism was of course wholly unfavourable to the art; the period of laxity that followed was no less so. Even Wren, of whose comprehensive genius Englishmen have every reason to speak with pride, formed, in the first instance, a most inadequate conception of what a Christian Church should be. 'The very theory of the ground plan for a church had died out, when he constructed his first miserable design for a huge meeting-house.'
Before the eighteenth century, Gothic architecture had already fallen into utter disrepute. Sir Henry Wotton, fresh from his embassies in Venice, had declared that such was the 'natural imbecility' of pointed arches, and such 'their very uncomeliness,' that they ought to be 'banished from judicious eyes, among the reliques of a barbarous age.' Evelyn, lamenting the demolition by Goths and Vandals of the stately monuments of Greek and Roman architecture, spoke of the mediaeval buildings which had risen in their stead, as if they had no merits to redeem them from contempt -- 'congestions of heavy, dark, melancholy and monkish piles, without any proportion, use, or beauty,' deplorable instances of pains and cost lavishly expended, and resulting only in distraction and confusion. Sir Christopher Wren said of the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages, that they were 'vast and gigantic buildings indeed, but not worthy the name of architecture.' Even at such times there were some who were proof against the caprice of fashionable taste, and who were not insensible to the solemn grandeur of 'high embowed roofs,' 'massy pillars,' and 'storied windows.' Lord Lyttelton censured the old architecture as 'loaded with a multiplicity of idle and useless parts,' yet granted that 'upon the whole it has a mighty awful air, and strikes you with reverence.' Henry VII.'s Chapel at Westminster was still regarded with admiration as 'that wonder of the world;' and although people did not quite know what to do with their cathedrals, and regarded them rather as curiosities, alien to the times, and heirlooms from a dead past, they did not cease to speak of them with some pride. But popular taste -- so far as architectural taste can be spoken of as prevalent in any definite form throughout the greater part of the last century -- was all in favour of a 'Palladian' or 'Greek' style. It was a style scarcely adapted to our climate, and unfavourable to the symbolism of Christian thought, yet capable, in the hands of a master, of being very grand and imposing. Under weaker treatment the effect was grievous. There was neither manliness nor solemnity in the usual run of churches built after the similitude of 'Roman theatres and Grecian fanes.' Maypoles instead of columns, capitals of no order, and pie-crust decorations -- such, exclaimed Seward, were the too frequent adjuncts of the newly built churches he saw about him. At the time, however, that Seward wrote, a change had already begun to show itself in many influential quarters. Even the 'correct classicality' of Sir William Chambers, the leading architect of the day, met, towards the close of the century, with by no means the same unquestioning admiration which he had received at an earlier date. There was division of opinion on fundamental questions of architectural fitness; and persons could applaud the talents of mediaeval builders without being considered eccentric. Gray, Mason, Warton, Bishop Percy, and many others, had contributed in various ways to create in England a reaction, still more widely felt in Germany, in favour of ideas which for some time past had been contemptuously relegated to the darkness of the Middle Ages. A frequent, though as yet not very discriminating, approval of Gothic architecture was part of the movement. 'High veneration,' remarked Dr. Sayers, writing about the last year of the century, 'has lately been revived for the pointed style.' It was one among many other outward signs of a change gradually coming over the public mind on matters concerned with the observances of religion.
An enthusiastic antiquary and ecclesiologist, whose contributions to the 'Gentleman's Magazine' of 1799 were of great service in calling attention to the reckless mischief which was often worked, under the name of improvements, in our noblest churches and cathedrals, has transmitted to us a sad list of mutilations and disfigurements which had come under his observation. He has told how 'in every corner of the land some unseemly disguise, in the Roman or Grecian taste, was thrown over the most lovely forms of the ancient architecture.' His indignation was especially moved by the havoc perpetrated in Westminster Abbey, sometimes by set design of tasteless innovators, often by 'some low-hovelled cutter of monumental memorials,' or by workmen at coronations, 'who, we are told, cannot attend to trifles.' Carter's lamentation is more than justified by Dean Stanley, who has enumerated in detail many of the vandalisms committed during the last age in the minster under his care. What else could be expected, when it was held by those who were thought the best judges in such matters, that nothing could be more barbarous and devoid of interest than the Confessor's Chapel, and 'nothing more stupid than laying statues on their backs?' It might have been supposed that Dean Atterbury, at all events, would have had some sympathy with the workmanship of the past. But 'there is a charming tradition that he stood by, complacently watching the workmen as they hewed smooth the fine old sculptures over Solomon's porch, which the nineteenth century vainly seeks to recall to their places.' For a list of some of the disastrous alterations and demolitions inflicted upon other cathedrals, the reader may be referred to the pages of Mr. Mackenzie Walcot. Wreck and ruin seems especially to have followed in the track of Wyatt, who was looked upon, nevertheless, as a principal reviver of the ancient style of architecture. If cathedrals, where it might be imagined that some remains of ecclesiastical taste would chiefly linger, thus suffered, even when under the supervision of the chief architects of the period, what would have happened if, at such a time, a sudden zeal for Church restoration had invaded the country clergy?
We may be thankful, on the whole, that it was an age of whitewash. Carter, writing of Westminster Abbey, records one thing with hearty gratitude. It had not been whitewashed. It was the one religious structure in the kingdom which showed its original finishing, and 'those modest hues which the native appearance of the stone so pleasantly bestows.' Everywhere else the dauber's brush had been at work. He spoke of it with indignation. 'I make little scruple in declaring that this job work, which is carried on in every part of the kingdom, is a mean makeshift to give a delusive appearance of repair and cleanliness to the walls, when in general this wash is resorted to to hide neglected or perpetrated fractures.' The stone fretwork of the Lady Chapel at Hereford, the valuable wall-paintings at Salisbury, the carved work of Grinling Gibbons at St. James', Westminster, shared, for example, the general fate, and were smothered in lime. Horace Walpole, laughing at the City of London for employing one whom he thought a very indifferent craftsman to write their history, said he supposed that presently, instead of having books published with the imprimatur of an university, they would be 'printed as churches are whitewashed -- John Smith and Thomas Johnson, Churchwardens.' How few churches are there that were not earlier or later in the last century emblazoned with some such like scroll! But if whitewash conceals, it also preserves; it hides beauties to which one generation is blind, that it may disclose them the more fresh and uninjured to another which has learnt to appreciate them.
When it is said that the churches were kept in such tolerable repair that at all events they did not fall, it would appear that in many cases little more than this could be truthfully added. Ely Minster remains standing, but more by good chance, if Defoe is to be trusted, than from any sufficient care on the part of its guardians. 'Some of it totters,' he wrote, 'so much with every gale of wind, looks so like decay, and seems so near it, that whenever it does fall, all that 'tis likely will be thought strange in it will be that it did not fall a hundred years sooner.' Such an instance might well be exceptional, and no doubt was so among cathedrals; but a great number of parish churches had fallen, by the middle of the century, into a deplorable state. Secker, in a charge delivered in 1750, gives a grievous picture of what was to be seen in many country churches. 'Some, I fear, have scarce been kept in necessary present repair, and others by no means duly cleared from annoyances, which must gradually bring them to decay: water undermining and rotting the foundations, earth heaped up against the outside, weeds and shrubs growing upon them ... too frequently the floors are meanly paved, or the walls dirty or patched, or the windows ill glazed, and it may be in part stopped up ... or they are damp, offensive, and unwholesome. Why (he adds) should not the church of God, as well as everything else, partake of the improvements of later times?' Bishop Fleetwood had observed forty years before, that unless the good public spirit of repairing churches should prevail a great deal more, a hundred years would bring to the ground a huge number of our churches. 'And no one, said Bishop Butler, will imagine that the good spirit he has recommended prevails more at present than it did then.' As for cleanliness, Bishop Horne remarked that in England, as in the sister kingdom, it was evidently a frequent maxim that cleanliness was no essential to devotion. People seemed very commonly to be of the same opinion with the Scotch minister, whose wife made answer to a visitor's request -- 'The pew swept and lined! My husband would think it downright popery!' One can understand, without needing to sympathise with it, the strong Protestantism of Hervey's admiration for a church 'magnificently plain;' but in the eighteenth century, the excessive plainness, not to say the frequent dirtiness, of so many churches was certainly owing to other causes than that of ultra-Protestantism.
After speaking of the disrepair and squalor which, although far indeed from being universal, were too frequently noticeable in the churches of the last age, it might seem a natural transition to pass on to the singularly incongruous uses to which the naves of some of our principal ecclesiastical buildings were in a few instances perverted. In the minds of modern Churchmen there would be the closest connection between culpable neglect of the sacred fabric, and the profanation of it by admission within its walls of the sights and sounds of common daily business or pleasure. There was something of this in the period under review. The extraordinary desecrations once general in St. Paul's belong indeed chiefly to the latter half of the 16th and the first half of the 17th centuries. Most readers are more or less familiar with the accounts given of 'Paul's Walk' in the old days, -- how it was not only 'the recognised resort of wits and gallants, and men of fashion and of lawyers,' but also, as Evelyn called it, 'a stable of horses and a den of thieves' -- a common market, where Shakspeare makes Falstaff buy a horse as he would at Smithfield -- usurers in the south aisle, horse-dealers in the north, and in the midst 'all kinds of bargains, meetings, and brawlings.' Before the eighteenth century began, 'Paul's Walk' was, in all its main features, a thing of the past. Yet a good deal more than the mere tradition of it remained. In a pamphlet published in 1703, 'Jest' asks 'Earnest' whether he has been at St. Paul's, and seen the flux of people there. 'And what should I do there,' says the latter, 'where men go out of curiosity and interest, and not for the sake of religion? Your shopkeepers assemble there as at full 'Change, and the buyers and sellers are far from being cast out of the Temple.' At Durham there was a regular thoroughfare across the nave until 1750, and at Norwich until 1748, when Bishop Gooch stopped it. The naves of York and Durham Cathedral were fashionable promenades. The Confessor's Chapel made, on occasion, a convenient playground for Westminster scholars, who were allowed, as late as 1829, to keep the scenes for their annual play in the triforium of the north transept. Nevertheless 'Paul's Walk' and all customs in any way akin to it, so far as they survived into the last century, had in reality little or nothing to do with the irreligion and neglect of which the century has been sorely, and not causelessly accused. Rather, they were the relics of customs which had not very long fallen into desuetude. The time had been, and was not so very long past, when the stalls and bazaars of St. Paul's Cathedral did but illustrate on a large scale what might be seen on certain days in almost all the churches of the kingdom. Our forefathers in the Middle Ages drew a broad line of distinction between the chancel and the nave. The former was looked upon as sanctified exclusively to religious uses; the latter was regarded rather as a consecrated house under the care and protection of the Church. It sounds somewhat like a paradox to assert that the exclusion from churches of all that is not distinctly connected with the service of religion was mainly due to the Puritans, of whose wanton irreverence in sacred buildings we hear so much. Yet this seems certainly to have been the case. Traces of the older usage lingered on, as we have seen, into the middle of the last century; but from the time of the Commonwealth they had already become exceptional anachronisms.
Before the century commenced pews had become everywhere general. In mediaeval times there had been, properly speaking, none. A few distinguished people were permitted, as a special privilege, to have their private closets furnished, very much like the grand pews of later days, with cushions, carpets, and curtains. But, as an almost universal rule, the nave was unencumbered with any permanent seats, and only provided with a few portable stools for the aged and infirm. Pews began to be popular in Henry VIII.'s time, notwithstanding the protests of Sir Thomas More and others. Under Elizabeth they became more frequent in town churches. In Charles I.'s time, they had so far gained ground as to be often a source of hot and even riotous contention between those who opposed them and others who insisted on erecting them. Even in Charles II.'s reign they were exceptional rather than otherwise, and the term had not yet become limited to boxes in church. Pepys writes in his 'Diary' on February 18, 1668, 'At Church; there was my Lady Brouncker and Mrs. Williams in our pew.' On the 25th of the same month, we find the entry, 'At the play; my wife sat in my Lady Fox's pew with her.' Sir Christopher Wren was not at all pleased to see them introduced into his London churches. During the luxurious, self-indulgent times that followed the Restoration, private pews of all sorts and shapes gained a general footing. Before Queen Anne's reign was over they had become so regular a part of the ordinary furniture of a church, that in the regulations approved in 1712 by both Houses of Convocation for the consecrating of churches and chapels, it is specially enjoined that the churches be previously pewed. Twelve years, however, later than this they were evidently by no means universal in country places. In 1725, Swift, enumerating 'the plagues of a Country Life,' makes 'a church without pews' a special item in his list. But 'repewed,' had been for many years past a characteristic part of formula which recorded the church restorations of the period. There are plenty of allusions in the writings of contemporary poets and essayists to the cosy, sleep-provoking structures in which people of fashion and well-to-do citizens could enjoy without attracting too much notice --
the Sunday due
Of slumbering in an upper pew.
In Swift's humorous metamorphosis --
A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphos'd into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep,
By lodging folks dispos'd to sleep.
Those of the more exclusive sort were often built up with tall partitions, like Lady Booby's, 'in her pew, which the congregation could not see into.' Sometimes they were curtained, 'sometimes filled with sofas and tables, or even provided with fireplaces;' and cases might be quoted where the tedium of a long service, or the appetite engendered by it, were relieved by the entry, between prayers and sermon, of a livery servant with sherry and light refreshments. Even into cathedrals cumbrous ladies' pews were often introduced. Horace Walpole tells an extraordinary story of Gloucester Cathedral in 1753. A certain Mrs. Cotton, who had largely contributed to whitewashing and otherwise ornamenting the church, had taken it into her head that the soul of a favourite daughter had passed into a robin. The Dean and Chapter indulged her in the whim, and she was allowed to keep a kind of aviary in her private seat. 'Just by the high altar is a small pew hung with green damask, with curtains of the same, and a small corner cupboard painted, carved, and gilt, for birds in one corner.' In Ripon Cathedral, some of the old tabernacle work of the stalls was converted into pews. Everywhere the pew system remained uncontrolled, pampering self-indulgence, fostering jealousies, and too often thrusting back the poor into mean, comfortless sittings, in whatever part of the church was coldest, darkest, and most distant from sight and hearing. Towards the end of the century its evils began to be here and there acknowledged. The population was rapidly increasing in the larger towns; and the new proprietary chapels erected to meet this increase were often commercial speculations conducted on mere principles of trade, most unworthy of a National Church. No reflecting Churchman could fail to be disgusted with a traffic in pews which in many cases absolutely excluded the poor. Among the new churches there were in fact only one or two honourable exceptions to the general rule. A free church was opened at Bath, another at Birmingham; it appears that all the rest of these 'Chapels of Ease' unblushingly gave the lie, so far as in them lay, to the declaration of our Lord that the poor have the Gospel preached unto them. Some time had yet to elapse before improved feeling could do much towards abating the unchristian nuisance. But energetic protests were occasionally heard. 'I would reprobate,' wrote Mrs. Barbauld (1790) 'those little gloomy solitary cells, planned by the spirit of aristocracy, which deform the building no less to the eye of taste than to the eye of benevolence, and insulating each family within its separate enclosure, favour at once the pride of rank and the laziness of indulgence.' 'It is earnestly to be wished,' remarked Dr. Sayers about the same time, 'that our churches were as free as those of the continent from these vile incumbrances.' Their injury to architectural effect was the least of their evils. They were fruitful, he said, in jealousies, and utterly discordant to the worship of a God who is no respecter of persons.
Of the galleries, so often enumerated in Paterson's account of London Churches (1714) among recently erected 'ornaments,' little need be said, except that they were often wholly unnecessary, or only made necessary by the great loss of space squandered in the promiscuous medley of square and ill-shaped pews. It was an object of some ambition to have a front seat in the gallery. 'The people of fashion exalt themselves in church over the heads of the people of no fashion.' A crowded London church in the old times, gallery above gallery thronged with people, was no doubt an impressive spectacle, not soon to be forgotten. To many the thought of galleried churches will revive a different set of remembrances. Dusky corners, a close and heavy atmosphere, back seats for children and the scantily favoured, to which sound reached as a drowsy hum, and where sight was limited to the heads of people in their pews, to their hats upon the pillars, and perhaps an occasional half-view of the clergyman in the pulpit, seen at intervals through the interstices of the gallery supports -- such are the recollections which will occur to some. Certainly they are calculated to animate even an excessive zeal for opening out churches, and creating wider space and freer air.
And who does not remember some of the other special adjuncts of an old-fashioned church, as it had been handed down little altered from the time of our great-grandfathers? There were the half-obliterated escutcheons, scarcely less dismal in aspect than the coffin plates with which the columns of the Welsh churches were so profusely decorated. No wonder Blair introduces into his poem on 'The Grave' a picture of --
the gloomy aisles
Black plastered, and hung round with shreds of 'scutcheons.
And then, in the place of the ancient rood loft, was that masterpiece of rural art --
Moses and Aaron upon a church wall,
Holding up the Commandments, for fear they should fall.
There was the glorified record of the past deeds of parish officials, well adapted to fire the emulation of a succeeding generation --
With pride of heart, the Churchwarden surveys
High o'er the belfry, girt with birds and flowers,
His story wrought in capitals: 'twas I
That bought the font; and I repaired the pews.
There were the tables of benefactors conspicuous under the western gallery. The Lower House of Convocation in 1710 had issued special directions in recommendation of this practice. The bishops also -- Fleetwood, Secker, and others -- did not fail to enjoin it in their charges. And not without reason; for a great number of parish benefactions appear to have been lost by lapse or otherwise about the beginning of the eighteenth century. Yet smaller letters, and a less prominent position, might have served the same purpose, with less disfigurement, and less offence to the decent humility which best befits the deeds of Christian benevolence.
The great three-decked pulpit of the Georgian age is still familiar to our memories. To the next generation it will be at length a curiosity of the past. Nor must the mighty sounding-board be forgotten, impending with almost threatening bulk over the preacher's head, and adorned with the emblematic symbol of grace: --
I cast my eyes upon him, and explored
The dove-like form upon the sounding hoard.
The pulpit had supplanted the old portable box-desk at the time of the Reformation, and had maintained itself in undiminished honour through all the subsequent changes. In rich London parishes much rare workmanship was often expended upon it. If not by its costliness, at all events by its dimensions, it was apt to throw all other church furniture into the shade. And 'in a few abnormal instances, particularly in watering-places, the rostra would even overhang the altar, or occupy a sort of gallery behind it.' During the earlier part of the century, an hour-glass, in a wood or iron frame, was still the not unfrequent appendage to a pulpit. In the Elizabethan period it had been general. But perhaps the Puritan preachers had not cared to be reminded that preaching had its limits; or a later generation, on the other hand, might dread the suggestion that the sermon might last the hour. At all events, as they wore out, they were not often replaced; and Bishop Kennet, writing in the third decade of the century, spoke of them as already beginning to be uncommon. They were chiefly to be seen in old-fashioned country churches, such as that where, in Gay's eclogue, the village swains followed fair Blouzelind to her burial, and listened while the good man warned them from his text, and descanted upon the uncertainty of life --
And spoke the hour-glass in her praise quite out.
The bible 'of larger volume,' as directed in Lord Cromwell's injunctions, and in the Canons of 1751, venerable with age, might sometimes be seen still chained to its desk, as in the old days. In Pope's time, church bibles were very commonly in black-letter type.
Litany desks were a great rarity. One in Exeter Cathedral appears to have been disused about 1740.
Everyone knows what a neglected aspect the font usually bore during the whole of the Georgian period; how it was often thrust into some corner of the church, as if it were a kind of encumbrance that could not be absolutely done away with, and very frequently supplanted by some basin or pewter vessel placed inside it. In 1799 Carter recorded with indignation that in Westminster Abbey the font had been altogether removed, to make space for some new monument, and was lying topsy-turvy in a side room. In this, however, as in other respects, the neglect that was too generally prevalent must of course not be spoken of as if it were by any means universal.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, and in the reign of Queen Anne, there was some little discussion, in which Bishop Beveridge and others took part, as to the propriety of retaining or renovating chancel screens. In mediaeval times, these 'cancelli,' from which the chancel took its name, had been universal; and a few had been put up under the Stuart sovereigns, notwithstanding the offence with which they were regarded by those who looked upon them as one of 'the hundred points of popery.'
We find Archbishop Secker expressing his regret, not without cause, that chancels were not, as a rule, kept in much better order than other parts of the building. Incumbents were by no means so careful as they should be, and lay impropriators, whether private or collegiate, were generally strangely neglectful. 'It is indispensably requisite,' he added, 'to preserve them not only standing and safe, but clean, neat, decent, agreeable; and it is highly fit to go further, and superadd, not a light and trivial finery, but such degrees of proper dignity and grandeur as we are able, consistently with other real obligations.'
The condition and decoration of the Lord's Table differed widely, especially in the earlier years of the period, in accordance with varieties of opinion and feeling in clergymen and in their congregations. For the most part it was insignificantly and meanly furnished, and hemmed closely in by the Communion rails. At the beginning of the century, it would appear that in the London churches a great deal of care and cost had been lately expended on 'altar-pieces.' In one church after another, Paterson records the attraction of a 'fine' -- a 'beautiful' -- a 'stately' -- a 'costly' altar-piece. Many of these, however, would by no means approve themselves to a more cultivated taste than that which then prevailed. Instead of the Greek marbles and rich baldachino which Wren had intended for the east end of St. Paul's, the authorities substituted imitation marble, and fluted pilasters painted with ultramarine and veined with gold. The Vicar of Leeds, writing to Ralph Thoresby in 1723, tells him that a pleasing surprise awaits his return, 'Our altar-piece is further adorned, since you went, with three flower-pots upon three pedestals upon the wainscot, gilt, and a hovering dove upon the middle one; three cherubs over the middle panel, the middle one gilt, a piece of open carved work beneath, going down towards the middle of the velvet.' If, however, the reader cannot altogether admire the picture thus summoned before his eyes, he will at all events agree with the words that follow: 'But the greatest ornament is a choir well filled with devout communicants.' The painted 'crimson curtains' at the east end of Battersea Church, 'trimmed with amber, and held up by gold cord with heavy gold tassels,' may serve as another representative example of the kind of 'altar-piece' which commended itself to eighteenth-century Churchmen.
Nothing, it might be imagined, could be more inoffensive than the use of the sacred monogram. But there were some at the beginning of the period, both Dissenters and Puritan Churchmen, who looked very suspiciously at it. They ranked it, together with bowing at the name of Jesus and turning eastward at the Creed, among Romish proclivities. 'What mean,' Barnes had said towards the close of the previous century, 'these rich altar-cloths, with the Jesuits' cypher embossed upon them?' So also that worthy man, Ralph Thoresby, had expressed himself 'troubled' to see at Durham, among other 'superstitions' 'richly embroidered I.H.S. upon the high altar.'
In Charles the First's time the Ritualistic party in the Church of England used sometimes to place upon the altars of their churches crucifixes and an array of candlesticks. After the Restoration the former were never replaced. The two candles, however, interpreted as symbolical of the divine and human nature of the Lord, were by no means unfrequent in the churches of the last century, especially during its earlier years. Mr. Beresford Hope speaks of an old picture in his possession, of Westminster Abbey, referred to the beginning of the eighteenth century, in which candles are represented burning upon the altar. This, at all events, was most unusual. Bishop Hoadly, writing against the Ritualistic practices of some congregations, speaks of 'the over-altars and the never-lighted candles upon them.' In Durham Cathedral, which by traditional custom retained throughout the century a higher Ritual in some respects than was to be found elsewhere, the 'tapers' of which Thoresby speaks were probably more than two in number.
The credence, or side table, upon which the sacramental elements are placed previously to being offered, in accordance with the rubric, upon the Lord's Table, had been objected to by many Puritan Churchmen. Provision was rarely made for this in eighteenth-century churches. It is mentioned as somewhat exceptional on the part of Bishop Bull, that 'he always offered the elements upon the Holy Table himself before beginning the Communion service.'
Puritan feeling had very unreasonably regarded the cross with almost as much jealousy as the crucifix. This idea had, in the last century, so far gained ground, that the Christian emblem was not often to be seen, at all events in the interior of churches, and that those who did use it in their churches or churchyards were likely to incur a suspicion of Popery. An anonymous assailant of Bishop Butler in 1767, fifteen years after the death of that prelate, made it a special charge against him that he had 'put up the Popish insignia of the cross in his chapel at Bristol.'
Steele, speaking, in one of his papers in the 'Guardian,' of Raphael's picture of our Saviour appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, makes some remarks upon religion and sacred art. 'Such endeavours,' he says, 'as this of Raphael, and of all men not called to the altar, are collateral helps not to be despised by the ministers of the Gospel.... All the arts and sciences ought to be employed in one confederacy against the prevailing torrent of vice and impiety; and it will be no small step in the progress of religion, if it is as evident as it ought to be, that he wants the best sense a man can have, who is cold to the |Beauty of Holiness.|' Tillotson, and other favourite writers of Steele's generation, had dwelt forcibly, and with much charm of language, upon the moral beauty of a virtuous and holy life. But there had never been a time when the English Church in general, as distinguished from any party in it, had cared less to invest religious worship with outward circumstances of attractiveness and beauty. As to the particular point which gave occasion to Steele's remarks, whatever might be said for or against the propriety of painting in churches, there was in his time little disposition to open the question at all. One of the very few instances where a painting of the kind is spoken of, was connected with a very discreditable scandal. At a time when party feeling ran very high, White Kennet, Bishop of Peterborough, the well-known author of 'Parochial Antiquities,' had made himself exceedingly obnoxious to some of the more extreme members of the High Church section, by his answer to Sacheverell's sermon upon 'false brethren.' Dr. Welton, Rector of Whitechapel, put up at this juncture in his church a painted altar-piece in representation of the Last Supper, with Bishop Kennet conspicuous in it as Judas Iscariot. 'To make it the more sure, he had the doctor's great black patch put under his wig upon the forehead.' It need hardly be added that the Bishop of London ordered the picture to be taken down.
Sir Christopher Wren had intended to adorn the dome of St. Paul's with figures from sacred history, worked in mosaic by Italian artists. He was overruled. It was thought unusual, and likely also to be tedious and expensive. But there were some who cherished a hope that some such embellishment was postponed only, not abandoned. Walter Harte, for example, the Nonjuror, in his poem upon painting, trusted that 'the cold north' would not always remain insensible to the claims of religious art. The time would yet come when we should see in our churches,
Above, around, the pictured saints appear,
and when especially the metropolitan cathedral would be radiant with the pictorial glory which befitted it.
Thy dome, O Paul, which heavenly views adorn,
Shall guide the hands of painters yet unborn;
Each melting stroke shall foreign eyes engage,
And shine unrivalled through a future age.
The question was brought forward in a practical shape in 1773. Two years earlier the State apartments at old Somerset Palace had been granted by the King to the Royal Academy. The chapel was included in the gift; and it was soon after suggested, at a general meeting of the society, 'that the place would afford a good opportunity of convincing the public of the advantages that would arise from ornamenting churches and cathedrals with works of art.' This proposal was highly approved of by the society, and many of its members at once volunteered their services. Their president, however, Sir Joshua Reynolds, proposed a bolder scheme. He thought they should 'undertake St. Paul's Cathedral.' The amendment was carried unanimously. Application was accordingly made to the Dean and Chapter, who were pleased with the offer. Dean Newton, Bishop of Bristol, a great lover of pictures, was particularly favourable to the scheme, and warmly advocated it. Sir Joshua promised 'The Nativity'; West offered his picture of 'Moses with the Laws'; Barry, Dance, Cipriani, and Angelica Kauffman engaged to present other paintings; and four other artists were afterwards added to the number. But the trustees of the building -- Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Terrick of London -- disapproved. Terrick was especially hostile to the idea, and when the Dean waited upon him and told him, with some exultation, of the progress that had been made, put an absolute veto upon the whole project. 'My good Lord Bishop of Bristol,' he said, 'I have been already distantly and imperfectly informed of such an affair having been in contemplation; but as the sole power at last remains with myself, I therefore inform your lordship that, whilst I live and have the power, I will never suffer the doors of the metropolitan church to be opened for the introduction of Popery into it.'
Bishop Newton says, in his 'Memoirs,' that though there were some objectors, opinion was generally in favour of the offer made by the Academy, and that some churches and chapels adopted the idea. But St. Paul's probably suffered no loss through the further postponement of the decorations designed for it. In the first place, paintings -- for these, rather than frescoes, appear to have been intended -- were not the most appropriate kind of art for such an interior. Besides this, those 'earthly charms and graces,' which made Reynolds' style such an abomination to the delicate spiritual perceptions of the artist-poet Blake, were by no means calculated to create any elevated ideal among his countrymen of what Christian art should be. And if the President of the Academy, the most renowned English painter of his age, was scarcely competent to such a work, what must be said of his proposed coadjutors? 'I confess,' said Dean Milman, 'I shudder at the idea of our walls covered with the audacious designs and tawdry colouring of West, Barry, Cipriani, Dance, and Angelica Kauffman.' Such criticism would be very exaggerated if it were understood as a general condemnation of painters, whose merits in their own province of art were great. But it will universally be allowed that not to them, and scarcely to any other painters of the eighteenth century, could we look for the grandeur of thought or the elevated sentiment which an undertaking of the kind proposed so specially demanded.
Puritanism had been very destructive of the glass paintings which had added so much glory of colour to mediaeval churches. The art had begun to decline, from a variety of causes, at the beginning of the Reformation. In Elizabeth's reign, few coloured windows of any note were executed. Under James I. and Charles I. the taste to some degree revived. A new style of colouring was introduced by Van Linge, a skilful Flemish artist, who appears to have settled in England about 1610, and found many liberal patrons. It was an interval when much activity was displayed throughout the kingdom in the work of repairing and beautifying churches. When he died, or left the country, the art became all but dormant. The Restoration did little to resuscitate it. Religious taste and feeling were at a low ebb. Not only in England, but throughout the Continent also, the glass painters had no encouragement, and were continually obliged to maintain themselves by practising the ordinary profession of a glazier. And besides, long after the time when painted windows had become secure from Puritanic violence, a feeling lingered on that there was something un-Protestant in them -- something inconsistent, it might be, with the pure light of truth. For many years more, few were put up; nor these, for the most part, without much difference of opinion, and sometimes a great deal of angry controversy. It may have stirred the irony of men who had no sympathy with these suspicions, that corporations and private persons who would by no means admit into their churches windows in which scenes from our Saviour's life were pictured in hues that vied with those of the ruby and the sapphire had often no scruples in emblazoning upon them, to their own glorification, the arms of their family or their guild. Winslow speaking of the east window in University College, Oxford, done by Giles of York in 1687, the earliest example of a stained-glass window after the Restoration, remarks how much the art had deteriorated even in its most mechanical departments. In the first quarter, however, of the eighteenth century, there was some improvement in it. Joshua Price, in the east window of St. Andrew's, Holborn, has 'rivalled the rich colouring of the Van Linges. The painting is deficient in brilliancy, and some of the shadows are nearly opaque; yet these defects may almost be overlooked in the excellence of its composition, and in its immense superiority over all other works executed between the commencement of the eighteenth century and the revival of the mosaic system.' Joshua Price also executed some of the side windows in Magdalene College, and restored, in 1715, those in Queen's College, Oxford, the work of Van Linge, which had been broken by the Puritans. William Price painted, in 1702, the scenes from the life of Christ, depicted on the lower lights of Merton College Chapel. They are 'weak as regards colour, enamel being used almost to the substitution of coloured glass,' and lose in beauty and effect by the glaring yellow in which they are framed. He also painted the windows which were put up in Westminster Abbey by order of Parliament in 1722, and repaired with considerable skill the Flemish windows of Rubens's time, which he purchased and put up on the south side of New College Chapel. It is remarkable that the Prices appear to have been the last who possessed the old secret of manufacturing the pure ruby glass. After their time, until its rediscovery some forty years ago in France, it was a familiar instance of a 'lost art.'
When nearly fifty years had passed, some little attention began to be once more turned, chiefly in colleges and cathedrals, to the adornment of churches with coloured windows. The most memorable examples are in New College Chapel. Pickett, of York, painted between 1765 and 1777 the lower lights of the northern windows in the choir, with much brilliancy of colour, but in a style very inferior to the work of the Flemings and William Price on the other side. The great window in the antechapel, erected a few year later, certainly avoided that uniformity of gaudiness which Warton so greatly complained of in Pickett's work. Its design employed for several years the genius of Sir Joshua Reynolds. The central picture of the Nativity, after Correggio's 'Notte' at Modena, was exceedingly fine as a sketch in colours. Unfortunately, it was wholly unsuited to glass, and remains a standing proof that oil and glass paintings cannot be rivals, their principles being essentially different. A competent critic pronounces that had it been executed in coloured glass, it would still have been unsatisfactory. As it is, the dull stains and enamels employed by Jarvis give it what Horace Walpole called 'a washed-out' effect. Reynolds has introduced into it likenesses both of himself and Jarvis, as shepherds worshipping. Of the allegorical figures beneath, Hartley Coleridge justly remarks that personifications which are nowhere found in Scripture are not well adapted for a church window.
Another glass painting of something the same character, and showing the same futile attempt at impossible effects of light and shade, was a picture of the Resurrection, executed by Edgington, from a design by Sir Joshua Reynolds, for the Lady Chapel of Salisbury Cathedral. Mention should also be made of the great eastern window in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, by Jarvis and Forrest, and designed by West. The three last examples quoted by Dallaway are Pearson's windows in Brasenose Chapel, his scenes from St. Paul's life, at St. Paul's, Birmingham, and his 'Christ bearing the Cross,' at Wanstead, Essex. All these were produced towards the close of the century. They have merit, but they show also how much had to be learnt before the slowly reviving art of glass painting could recover anything of its ancient splendour.
Many ancient church bells disappeared in the general wreck of monastic property at the commencement of the Reformation. Many more were broken up and sold during the Civil Wars. In the eighteenth century another danger awaited them. They were not converted into money for spendthrift courtiers, nor disposed of for State necessities, nor cast into cannons and other implements of war; but they came to be considered a useful fund which the guardians of churches could fall back upon. 'Very numerous were the instances in which four bells out of five have been sold by the parish to defray churchwardens' accounts.' On the other hand, a great number of new bells were cast during the period, among which may be mentioned the great bell of St. Paul's, 1716, and those of the University Church, Cambridge, a peal particularly admired by Handel. The single family of Rudall of Gloucester, cast during the ninety years ending with 1774 no less than 3,594 church bells. Bell-ringing is often spoken of as an exercise and recreation of educated men. Hearne, the famous Oxford antiquary, was passionately fond of it. In his diary there are constant allusions to the feats of bell-ringing which took place in Oxford, and to the intricacies and technicalities of the art. The learned Samuel Parr is said to have been excessively fond of church bells, and so was Robert Southey the poet.
The old superstitions connected with the inauguration of bells, and the services expected from them, had become exchanged in either case for a great deal of coarse rusticity and vulgarity. Some pious aspiration was still in many cases graved upon the border of the metal; but often, instead of the old 'funera plango, fulgura frango,' &c., or the dedication to Virgin or saint, the churchwarden who ordered the bell would order also an inscription, composed by himself, commemorative of his work and office. The doggerel was sometimes absurd enough: --
Samuel Knight made this ring
In Binstead Steeple for to ding;
Thomas Eyer and John Winslade did contrive
To cast from four bells this peal of five;
At proper times my voice I'll raise,
And sound to my subscribers' praise.
And when the new bell was placed in the steeple, instead of the priestly unctions and quaint ceremonies of a past age, there was too often a heathenish scene of drunkenness and revelry. A common custom, alluded to by White of Selborne, was to fix it bottom upwards, and fill it with strong liquor. At Checkendon, in Oxfordshire, this was attended with fatal results. There is a tradition that one of the ringers helped himself so freely from the extemporised ale cask that he died on the spot, and was buried underneath the tower. Bells were still sometimes rung to dissipate thunderstorms, and perhaps to drive away contagion, under the notion that their vibrations purified the air. They were often rung on other occasions when they would have been much better silent. At Bath no stranger of the smallest pretension to fashion could arrive without being welcomed by a peal of the Abbey bells.
The curfew has not even yet fallen entirely into disuse. In the last century it was oftener heard to 'toll the knell of parting day.' At Ripon its place was supplied by a horn sounded every evening at nine.
'If,' said Robert Nelson, 'his senses hold out so long, he can hear even his passing bell without disturbance.' Towards the beginning of the century, this old custom seems to have been tolerably general. Its original object had been to invite prayers in behalf of a departing soul, and to summon the priest, if he had had no other admonition, to his last duty of extreme unction. It was retained by the sixty-seventh canon as a solemn reminder of mortality. But towards the end of the century it was fast becoming obsolete. Pennant, writing in 1796, says that though the practice was still punctually kept up in some places, it had fallen into general desuetude in the towns.
Churches neglected and in disrepair were not likely to be surrounded by well-kept churchyards. During the Georgian period it was common enough to see churchyards which might have served as pictures of dreariness and gloom. Webb's collection of epitaphs, published in 1775, is prefaced by some introductory verses which intimate, without any idea of censure, a condition of things which was clearly not very exceptional in the churchyards of towns and populous villages: --
Here nauseous weeds each pile surround,
And things obscene bestrew the ground;
Skulls, bones, in mouldering fragments lie,
All dreadful emblems of mortality.
Secker hopes the clergy of his diocese will keep their churchyards 'neat and decent, taking the profits of the herbage in such manner as may rather add beauty to the place.' But he implies that there were many incumbents who turned their cattle into the sacred precincts, 'to defile them, and trample down the gravestones; and make consecrated ground such as you would not suffer courts before your own doors to be.' And there were some who were not satisfied with turning in their cow and horse. Practices lingered within the recollections of living men which would nowadays cause a parochial rebellion. While, for example, the transition from licence to order was in progress, a certain rector had sown an unoccupied strip of the burial-ground with turnips. The archdeacon at his visitation admonished this gentleman not to let him see turnips when he came there next year. The rebuked incumbent could so little comprehend these decorous scruples that he supposed Mr. Archdeacon to be inspired by a zeal for agriculture, and the due rotation of crops. 'Certainly not, sir,' said he, ''twill be barley next year.'
For the most part, however, there was nothing to give gross offence to the eye. Gray, in his charming elegy, used words exactly expressive of the ordinary truth, when he called it 'this neglected spot.' It was tranquil enough, and suggestive of pensive meditation, shaded perhaps by rugged elms or melancholy yews; but the grass was probably rank and untended, and the ground a confused medley of shapeless heaps. Except in epitaphs, there were no particular signs of tenderness and care; no flowers, no shrubs, no crosses. The revival of care for our beauty and comeliness of churches, and the example of well-kept cemeteries, have combined, since the time of the last of the Georges, to effect an improvement in the general aspect of our churchyards, which was certainly very much needed. Culpable neglect, it may be added, was sometimes shown in the admission of jesting or profane epitaphs. The inscription on Gay's monument in Westminster Abbey is a well-known example. One other instance, in illustration, will be abundantly sufficient. Imagine the carelessness of supervision which could allow the following buffoonery to be set up (1764) in the cathedral churchyard of Winchester: --
Here rests in peace a Hampshire grenadier
Who kill'd himself by drinking poor small beer;
Soldier, be warned by his untimely fall,
And when you're hot, drink strong, or none at all.
In Wales, and in a few places in the south and west of England, the custom still lingered of planting graves with flowers and sweet herbs: --
Two whitened flintstones mark the feet and head;
While there between full many a simple flower,
Pansy and pink, with languid beauty smile;
The primrose opening at the twilight hour,
And velvet tufts of fragrant camomile.
Pepys makes mention of a churchyard near Southampton where the graves were accustomed to be all sown with sage.
Before leaving the subject of church fabrics and their immediate surroundings, some little mention should be made of the effort made at the beginning of the century to supply the deficiency of churches in London. 'After some pause,' writes Addison, in one of his Roger de Coverley papers, 'the old knight, turning about his head twice or thrice to take a survey of the great metropolis, bid me observe how thick the City was set with churches, and that there was scarce a single steeple on this side Temple Bar. |A most heathenish sight!| said Sir Roger. |There is no religion at this end of the town. The fifty new churches will very much mend the prospect, but church work is slow, very slow.|' That growth of London, which was to bring within its vast embrace village after village and hamlet after hamlet, was already fast progressing, and in the early part of the century had greatly outstripped all church provision. Dean Swift, it is said, has the credit of having first aroused public attention to this want. In a paragraph of his 'Project for the Advancement of Religion,' he had said 'that five parts out of six of the people are absolutely hindered from hearing divine service, particularly here in London, where a single minister with one or two curates has the care sometimes of about 20,000 souls incumbent on him.' A resolution was carried in the House of Commons (May 1711), that fifty new churches were necessary within the bills of mortality, and 350,000l. were granted for the purpose, 'which was a very popular thing.' Of the proposed fifty, twelve were built; the money for which was raised by a duty on coal -- 2s. per chaldron from 1716 to 1720, and 3s. from 1720 to 1724. After this exertion the work of church-building seems to have pretty nearly ended for the century. Towards the middle of it, the bishops complained in their Charges that there was no spirit for building churches, and that the occasional briefs issued for the purpose brought in very little. Fifty years later the question had again become too serious to be overlooked, and with the revival of deeper religion in the Church, there was little likelihood of its being allowed to rest. In large towns, the disproportion between the population and the number and size of churches had become so great 'that not a tenth of the inhabitants could be received into them were they so disposed.' A return made in 1811 showed that in a thousand large parishes in different parts of the kingdom there was church accommodation for only a seventh part of their aggregate population. Parliament granted a million for the erection of new churches, and large subscriptions were raised by the societies. But Polwhele, writing in 1819, said there were two large London parishes, with a joint population of above 120,000, which kept their village churches with room for not more than 200; and that in 1812, Dr. Middleton tried in vain to build a new church for St. Pancras, where the population was 100,000, and the church would only accommodate 300. These facts seem almost incredible; probably the writer from whom they are quoted overlooked subsidiary chapels attached to the parish church. It is, however, very clear that in London and many of the large towns no energetic efforts had for a long time been made to meet necessities of very crying urgency.
Bishop Beveridge, writing in the first years of the last century, lamented that 'daily prayers are shamefully neglected all the kingdom over; there being very few places where they have public prayers upon the week days, except perhaps on Wednesdays and Fridays.' But in towns this order of the Church was far more carefully observed in Queen Anne's reign, and for some little time afterwards, than it has been since, at all events until a very recent date. Archbishop Sancroft, in his circular letter of 1688 to the bishops of his province, had specially urged the public performance of the daily office 'in all market and other great towns,' and as far as possible in less populous places also. In London there was little to complain of. Although Puritan opinion had been unfavourable to daily services -- Baxter having gone so far as to say, that 'it must needs be a sinful impediment against other duties to say common prayer twice a day' -- the old feeling as to the propriety of daily worship was by no means so thoroughly impaired as it soon came to be. Conscientious Church people in towns would generally have acknowledged that it was a duty, wherever there was no real impediment. Paterson's account of the London churches shows that, in 1714, a large proportion of them were open morning and evening for common prayer. He notes, however, with an expression of great regret, that the number of worshippers was visibly falling off, and that in some cases evening service was being wholly discontinued in consequence of the paucity of attendance. In the popular writings of Queen Anne's time constant allusion may be found to the early six-o'clock matins. It must be acknowledged, however, that the daily services were sometimes attended for other purposes than those of devotion. Steele, in a paper in the 'Guardian,' in which he highly commends the practice of daily morning prayers, says that 'going to six-o'clock service, upon admonition of the morning bell, he found when he got there many poor souls who had really come to pray. But presently, after the confession, in came pretty young ladies in mobs, popping in here and there about the church, clattering the pew doors behind them, and squatting into whispers behind their fans.' Before long 'there was a great deal of good company come in.' A few did, indeed, seem to take pleasure in the worship; but many seemed to make it a task rather than a voluntary act, and some employed themselves only in gossip or flirtation. He remarks, towards the close of the paper, that later hours were becoming more in vogue than the early service.
The duty of daily public worship was, as might be expected, chiefly insisted upon by the High Churchmen of the period. Thus we find Robert Nelson urging it. There were very few men of business, he said, who might not 'certainly so contrive their affairs as frequently to dedicate half an hour in four-and-twenty to the public service of God.' Dodwell's biographer speaks of the great attention he paid to the daily prayers of the Church. Bull introduced at Brecknock daily prayers, instead of their only being on Wednesdays and Fridays; and at Carmarthen morning and evening daily prayers, whereas there had been only morning prayers before. In 1712 these were kept up and well frequented. Archbishop Sharp admonished his town clergy to maintain them regularly. Whiston, while he was yet incumbent of Lowestoft, used at daily matins and vespers an abridgment of the prayers approved by Bishop Lloyd. The custom was, however, by no means confined to High Churchmen. Thoresby, while he was yet more than half a Dissenter, feeling, for instance, much scruple as to the use of the cross in baptism, remarks in his 'Diary,' 'I shall never, I hope, so long as I am able to walk, forbear a constant attendance upon the public common prayer twice every day, in which course I have found much comfort and advantage.' Some time before the century had run through half its course, daily services were fast becoming exceptional, even in the towns. The later hours broke the whole tradition, and made it more inconvenient for busy people to attend them. Year after year they were more thinly frequented, and one church after another, in quick succession, discontinued holding them. It was one sign among many others of an increasing apathy in religious matters. At places like Bath or Tunbridge Wells the churches were still open, and tolerably full morning and evening. Elsewhere, if here and there a daily service was kept up, the congregation was sure to consist only of a few women; and the Bridget or Cecilia who was regularly there, was sure of being accounted by not a few of her neighbours, 'prude, devotee, or Methodist.' At the end of the century, and on till the end of the Georgian period, daily public prayers became rarer still. In the country they were kept up only 'in a few old-fashioned town churches.' How much they had dwindled away in London becomes evident from a comparison between the list of services enumerated in the 'Pietas Londinensis,' published in 1714, and a book entitled 'London Parishes: an Account of the Churches, Vicars, Vestries,' &c., published in 1824.
Throughout the earliest part of the period, the Wednesday and Friday services, particularly enjoined by the canon, were held in the London parish churches almost without exception, and very generally in country parishes. But as the idea of daily public worship became in the popular mind more and more obsolete, these also were gradually neglected and laid aside. In the middle of the century we find many more allusions to them than at its close. Secker, in his Charge of 1761, said there should always be prayers on these days. John Wesley wrote, in 1744, to advocate the careful observance of the Wednesday and Friday 'Stations or Half-fasts;' the poet Young held them in his church at Woolen; they formed part of the duty at a church to which Gilbert Wakefield, in 1778, was invited to be curate. James Hervey, at a time when his health was fast failing, said that he still managed to preach on Wednesday evenings, except in haytime and harvest, &c. In 1824 there were Wednesday and Friday services in only a small minority of the London churches.
Very similar remarks may be made in regard of the observance of Saints' days. In Queen Anne's time they were still generally kept as holy days, and business was even in some measure suspended. There were services on these festivals in all the London churches. We find, it is true, a High Church writer of this date, regretting that of late years the observance of these days had not been so strict as heretofore. He attributed this backwardness mainly to superstitious scruples derived from Puritan times, and to the immoderate pursuit of business. The wonder rather was, that having been, for a considerable portion of the previous century, 'neglected almost everywhere throughout the kingdom,' Church festivals should have recovered as much respect as they did. The extensive circulation of Robert Nelson's 'Festivals,' and the number of editions through which it passed, is in itself a sufficient proof that a great number of English Churchmen cordially approved a devout observance of the appointed holy days. But by the middle of the century the neglect of them was becoming general.
Burnet wished that Lent were not observed with 'so visible a slightness.' It was observed, certainly, and very generally, but also very superficially. In London there were a considerable number of special sermons on Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent, the place and preachers being notified beforehand in a printed list issued by the Bishop. Colston's Bristol benefaction, of 1708, provided, amongst his other charities, for an annual series of fourteen Lent sermons. The Low Churchmen of William's and Queen Anne's time instilled a devout observance of the season no less than the clergy of the High Church party. Burnet has been mentioned. Fleetwood's words, in his sermon before the King, on the 1st Sunday in Lent, 1717, are worth quoting. 'Our Church,' he said, 'hath erected this temporary house of mourning, wherein she would oblige us annually to enter.... And that we might attend more freely to these matters, she advises abstinence, and a prudent retrenchment of all those superfluities that minister to luxury more than necessity: by which the busy spirits are composed and quieted; the loose and scattered thoughts are recollected and brought home, and such a serious, sober frame of mind put on that we can think with less distraction, remember more exactly, pray with more fervency, repent more earnestly, and resolve with more deliberation on amendment. These are the beneficial fruits and effects of a reasonable, well governed abstinence, as every one may find by their experience.' John Wesley, as might naturally be expected from one who in many of his sympathies was so decidedly a High Churchman, was always in favour of a religious observance of Lent, especially of Holy Week. Steele, in a paper of the 'Guardian,' specially addressed, in Lent 1713, to careless men of pleasure, begs them not to ridicule a season set apart for humiliation. And passing mention may be made of indications, more or less trivial in themselves, of a tolerably general feeling throughout society that Lent was not quite what other seasons are, and ought not to be wholly disregarded. There were few marriages in Lent, comparatively few entertainments, public or private; in some cathedral towns the music of the choir was silent. And just as Sunday is sometimes honoured only by the putting on of a better dress, so the fashionable world would often pay that easiest show of homage to the sacredness of the Lenten season, not by curtailing in any way their ordinary pleasures, but by going to the theatre in mourning. Masquerades, too, were considered out of place, at all events unless they were disguised under another name --
In Lent, if masquerades displease the town,
Call them ridottos, and they still go down.
In the Isle of Man, and there only, under the system of Church discipline set afoot and maintained in so remarkable a manner by the influence of the venerable Bishop Wilson, Lent was celebrated with much of the solemnity and austerity of primitive times. Immediately before its commencement, courts of discipline were held, in which Church censures were duly passed and notified. During the forty days penances were performed, and Easter was the time for re-admission into the full communion of the Church.
Throughout the country Lent was very commonly selected as a time specially appropriate for public catechizing. 'A Presbyter of the Church of England,' writing in the first year of this century, said that, except among the Evangelical clergy, it was almost confined to that season. Secker also, in the middle of the century, expressed a similar regret.
'It was Passion Week,' writes Boswell, in 1772, 'that solemn season, which the Christian Church has appropriated to the commemoration of the mysteries of our Redemption, and during which, whatever embers of religion are in our breasts, will be kindled into pious warmth.' He could hardly have written thus if Holy Week, and especially Good Friday, had not received at that time a fairly general observance. The rough treatment with which Bishop Porteus was requited for his attempt to bring about a better regard for Good Friday might seem to show the contrary. But there was no period in the last century when throughout the country at large shops were not generally closed on that day, and the churches fairly attended.
In the Olney Hymns, published 1779, Christmas Day only is referred to among all the Christian seasons. This was somewhat characteristic of the English Church in general during the greater part of the Georgian period. Other Christian seasons were often all but unheeded; Christmas was always kept much as it is now. It may be inferred, from a passage in one of Horsley's Charges, that in some country churches, towards the end of the century, there was no religious observance of the day. But such neglect was altogether exceptional. The custom of carol-singing was continued only in a few places, more generally in Yorkshire than elsewhere. There is some mention of it in the 'Vicar of Wakefield;' and one well-known carol, 'Christians, awake! salute the happy morn!' was produced about the middle of the century by John Byrom. In George Herbert's time it had been a frequent custom on all great festivals to deck the church with boughs. This usage became almost, if not quite, obsolete except at Christmastide. We most of us remember with what sort of decorative skill the clerk was wont, at this season, to 'stick' the pews and pulpit with sprays of holly. In the time of the 'Spectator' and of Gay, and later still, rosemary was also used, doubtless by old tradition, as referring in its name to the Mother of the Lord. Nor was mistletoe excluded. In connection with this plant, Stanley says a curious custom was kept up at York, which in 1754 had not long been discontinued. 'On the eve of Christmas Day they carried mistletoe to the high altar of the cathedral and proclaimed a public and universal liberty, pardon, and freedom to all sorts of inferior and even wicked people, at the gates of the city, toward the four quarters of heaven.' A number of other local customs, many of great antiquity, now at last disused, lingered on at Yule into the time of our grandfathers. On Christmas Day, Easter Day, and Whitsun Day there were very commonly two celebrations of the Holy Communion in the London churches. In a few cases, especially during the earlier years of the century, there was a daily celebration during the octaves of these great festivals. John Wesley, writing in 1777, makes mention that in London he was accustomed to observe the octave in this manner 'after the example of the Primitive Church.' Throughout the latter part of the Georgian period little special notice seems to have been taken, in most churches, of Easter and Whitsuntide, and Ascension Day was very commonly not observed at all, except in towns.
As one among many other indications that at the beginning of the last century a shorter period than now had elapsed since the days that preceded the Reformation, it may be mentioned that 'Candlemas' was not only a well-known date, especially for changing the hours of service, but retained some traces of being still a festival under that name. For instance, it was specially observed at the Temple Church; and 'at Ripon, so late as 1790, on the Sunday before Candlemas Day, the Collegiate Church was one continued blaze of light all the afternoon, by an immense number of candles.' Such traditions lingered in the north of England long after they had expired elsewhere.
It may be added that in Queen Anne's time we may still find the name of the Lord's Mother mentioned in a tone of affectionate respect not at all akin either to the timidity, in this respect, of later days, or to the somewhat defiant and overstrained veneration professed by some modern High Churchmen. Thus when Paterson begins to enumerate the London churches called after her name, he speaks of her in a perfectly natural tone as 'the Virgin Mary, the Mother of our ever-blessed Redeemer, Heaven's greatest darling among women.'
In some of the London churches, as at St. Alban's, St. Alphege's, &c., special commemoration services were, in 1714, still kept in memory of the patron saints from whom they had been named. In the country, at different intervals since the Reformation, there had been frequent and often angry discussions as to the propriety of continuing or suppressing the wakes which had been held from time immemorial on the dedication day of the parish church or on the eve of it. The feeling of High Churchmen was now by no means so unanimous in their favour as it had been in Charles the First's reign. Bishop Bull, for instance, when he was yet rector of Avening, was quite alive to the evils of these often unruly festivals, and succeeded in getting them discontinued there. Sometimes, where they had been held on the Sunday, a sort of compromise was effected, and, as at Claybrook, 'the church was filled on Sunday, and the Monday kept as a feast.'
The parish perambulations customary in Rogation Week were generally less of a solemnity in the eighteenth than they had been in the seventeenth and preceding centuries.
That every man might keep his own possessions,
Our fathers used, in reverent processions,
With zealous prayer, and with praiseful cheere,
To walk their parish limits once a year.
George Herbert, and Hooker, and many old worthies, had taken great pleasure in maintaining this old custom, thinking it serviceable not only for the preservation of parish rights and liberties, but for pious thanksgiving, for keeping up cordial feeling between rich and poor, and for mutual kindnesses and making up of differences. Sometimes, however, the religious part of the ceremony was altogether omitted; and sometimes these 'gang-days' provided an occasion for tumultuous contests or for intemperance, or served mainly as a pretext for a churchwardens' feast. We find Secker in 1750 recommending his clergy to keep up the old practice, but to guard it from abuse, and to use the thanksgivings, prayers, and sentences enjoined by Queen Elizabeth. At Wolverhampton, until about 1765, 'the sacrist, resident prebendaries, and members of the choir, assembled at morning prayers on Monday and Tuesday in Rogation Week, with the charity children bearing long poles clothed with all kinds of flowers then in season, and which were afterwards carried through the streets of the town with much solemnity, the clergy, singing men and boys, dressed in their sacred vestments, closing the procession, and chanting in a grave and appropriate melody the |Benedicite.| The boundaries of the parish were marked in many points by Gospel trees, where the Gospel was read.'
Days appointed by authority of the State for services of humiliation or of thanksgiving were far more frequent in the earlier part of the last century than they are now. In King William's time there were monthly fasts throughout the war, every first Wednesday in the month being thus set apart. Thus also, during the period when success after success attended the arms of Marlborough, there were never many months passed by without a day of thanksgiving. During the civil wars of the preceding century fast days had been very frequent. To a certain extent no doubt they had been used on either side as political weapons of party; but they were also genuinely congenial to the excited religious feeling of the nation, solemn appeals to the overruling power which guides the destinies of men. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, although religious energies were so far more languid than they had been in the preceding age, the great war that was raging on the Continent was still regarded somewhat in the light of a crusade. Not that it inspired enthusiasm, or awoke any spirit of romance. There was no such high-strung emotion in those who anxiously watched its progress. Still it was generally felt to be a struggle in which great religious principles were involved. The Protestant interest and the religious future of the Church and State of England were felt to be deeply concerned in its ultimate issues. And thus a good deal of half-religious, half-political feeling was centred on these appointed days of solemn fast or thanksgiving. The prayer for unity, calling upon the people to take to heart the dangers they were in by their unhappy divisions, seems to have been very generally read upon these occasions. A political element in them was always clearly recognised by the Nonjurors. The more moderate among them, who attended other services of the National Church, would not, except in rare instances, attend these. 'They held that to be present on such special occasions, which were significant of a direct purpose, was to profess allegiance to the new reigning family, and therefore an act of dissimulation; but not so their attendance on the ordinary services.'
The prayers appointed for these set days of humiliation appear to have often had the reputation of being neither impressive nor edifying. Winston spoke, indeed, in the highest terms of a prayer drawn up by Tenison on occasion of the great hurricane of 1703. He thought it a model composition, unequalled in modern and unsurpassed in ancient times. But its excellences, he added, were especially marked by the strong contrast with the jejune and courtly formulas which usually characterized such prayers, and most of all those which had been written for the days of fasting during the war. They were, too commonly, examples of the bad custom, scarcely to be extenuated by long established precedent, of clothing in the outward form of adulation of powers that be, what was ordinarily meant for nothing worse than expressions of patriotic loyalty. Another frequent fault of these special prayers was uncharitableness. Gilbert Wakefield speaks in particular of an 'execrable prayer against the Americans,' and of the storms which threatened him when he 'read it, but with the omission of all those unchristian words and clauses which constituted the very life and soul of the composition to the generality of hearers.'
The two anniversaries of January 30 and November 5 gave rise -- especially the former -- to a whole literature of special sermons, the great majority of which should never have been preached, or at least never published. Extreme men on either side delighted in the favourable opportunity presented by the one or the other of these two days of airing their respective opinions on subjects which could not yet be discussed without excitement. Protestant ardour, scarcely satisfied with commemorating Gunpowder Treason in Church services which matched in language the bonfires of the evening, found scope also for Antipapal demonstrations in other and more distant reminiscences. November 27, the anniversary of Elizabeth's accession, had been celebrated in London in 1679 with the most elaborate processions. In the earlier part of the eighteenth century it was still a great day in some parishes for riotous meetings, and was solemnised in some churches with special sermons and religious services. On the 14th or 20th of August there were also commemorative sermons in several London churches in remembrance of the defeat of the Armada. At St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, this custom still survives.
Throughout the eighteenth century the old laws which required due attendance on public worship were still in force. They were, in fact, formally confirmed in the thirty-first year of George the Third; and however much they had fallen into neglect, they were not removed from the statute-book till the ninth and tenth years of the present reign. We are told, however, that when the Toleration Act was passed in 1689, by one of the chief provisions of which persons who frequented a legal dissenting congregation were excused from all penalties for not coming to church, there was a general and observable falling off in the attendance at divine worship. Hitherto congregations had been swelled by numbers who went for no better reason than because it was the established rule of the realm that they must go. Henceforward, mistaken or not, it was the popular impression that people 'had full liberty to go to church or stay away; and the services were much deserted in favour of the ale-houses.' At the beginning, however, of the eighteenth century, the churches were once again fuller than they had been for some time previously. Dissent was at that time thoroughly unpopular; and the practice of occasional conformity brought a considerable number of moderate Dissenters into church. It was observed that churches in London which once had been very thinly attended now had overflowing congregations. Unfortunately, this revival of church attendance was not long-lived. Year after year it continued to fall off, until it had become in many parts of the country deplorably small. In 1738 Secker deplored the 'greatly increased disregard to public worship.' It was never neglected in England so much as during the corresponding period in Germany. Even in the worst of times, as a modern writer has truly observed, the average Englishman never failed to acknowledge that attendance at church or chapel was his duty. Only it was a duty which, as time went on, was continually less regarded alike in the upper and lower grades of society. Bishop Newton, speaking in 1768 of Mr. Grenville, evidently regarded his 'regularly attending the service of the church every Sunday morning, even while he was in the highest offices,' as something altogether exceptional in a Minister of State. His namesake, John Newton, the well-known writer of 'Cardiphonia' and the 'Olney Hymns,' says that when he was Rector of St. Mary, Woolnoth, in London, few of his wealthy parishioners came to church. Religious reformers, towards the end of the century, awoke with alarm to the perception of serious evil, betokened by the general thinness of congregations. The migration of population from the centre of London to its suburbs had already set in; but the following assertion was sufficiently startling nevertheless. 'The amazing and afflictive desertion of all our churches is a fact beyond doubt or dispute. In the heart of the city of London, in its noblest edifices, on the Lord's day, repeated instances have been known that a single individual hath not attended the divine service.' Another writer observes, in similar language, that 'the greater part of our churches, particularly in the metropolis, present a most unedifying and afflicting spectacle to the eyes of the sincere, unenthusiastic Christian.' 'Attendance was almost everywhere,' he adds, 'most shamefully small.' Some of the remoter parts of England seemed to be absolutely in danger of relapsing into literal heathenism. Hannah More said, in a letter to John Newton (1796), that in one parish in her neighbourhood, 'of nearly two hundred children, many of them grown up, hardly any had ever seen the inside of a church since they were christened. I cannot tell you the avidity with which the Scriptures were received by many of these poor creatures.' But things had indeed come to a pass in the country district where this indefatigable lady pursued her Christian labour. 'We have in this neighbourhood thirteen adjoining parishes without so much as even a resident curate.' Of such villages she might well add, that they 'are in Pagan darkness, and upon many of them scarcely a ray of Christianity has shone. I speak from the most minute and diligent examination.' No doubt the locality of which she spoke was suffering under very exceptional neglect; but somewhat similar instances could have been produced in other parts of England. A hundred years earlier, Ralph Thoresby, travelling in Yorkshire, had expressed his amazement that 'on the Lord's Day we rode from church to church and found four towns without sermon or prayers.' This is scarcely the place to enter further into the degree of spiritual destitution which prevailed in many parts of England, and into the causes which brought it about. It may be enough here to remark that the re-quickening of religious activity in the Church of England, mainly through the labours of clergy and laymen of the Evangelical school, came none too soon.
It should be added that, owing mainly to the thoroughly bad system of bundling three or four poor livings together, in order to provide respectable maintenance for a clergyman, it was very common in country places to have only one service on the Sunday. Nothing could be more likely than this to promote laxity of attendance at divine worship.
Dean Sherlock, in a treatise upon religious assemblies published by him in 1681, remarked severely upon the unseemly behaviour which was constantly to be seen in church -- the looking about, the whispering, the talking, the laughing, the deliberate reclining for sleep. Whether it had arisen out of contempt for all the externals of worship, or whether it were owing rather to a wild fear of any semblance of fanaticism or of hypocrisy, this rude and slovenly conduct had come, he said, to a great height, and brought great scandal upon our worship. The essayists of Queen Anne's reign made a steady and laudable effort to shame people out of these indecorous ways. The 'Spectator' constantly recurs to the subject. At one time it is the Starer who comes in for his reprobation. The Starer posts himself upon a hassock, and from this point of eminence impertinently scrutinises the congregation, and puts the ladies to the blush. In another paper he represents an Indian chief describing his visit to a London church. There is a tradition, the illustrious visitor says, that the building had been originally designed for devotion, but there was very little trace of this remaining. Certainly there was a man in black, mounted above the rest, and uttering something with a good deal of vehemence. But people were not listening; they were most of them bowing and curtseying to one another. Or a distinguished Dissenter came to church. 'After the service was over, he declared he was very well satisfied with the little ceremony which was used towards God Almighty, but at the same time he feared he was not well bred enough to be a convert.'
Addison, however, and his fellow-writers, who might be abundantly quoted to a similar effect, succeeded in making their readers more sensible than they had been of the impropriety of all such conduct. During the latter half of the century, the careless and undevout could no longer have ventured, without fear of censure, on the irreverent familiarities in church which they could have freely indulged in for the first twenty years of it.
Polwhele, remarks that in Truro Church, about the year 1800, he had seen several people sitting with their hats on, as they might have done at Geneva, or in the time of the older Puritans. This, however, was something wholly exceptional at that date. One of the things which had displeased English Churchmen in William the Third was this Dutch habit. He so far yielded to their feeling as to uncover during the prayers, but put on his hat again for the sermon. A minute in the Representation of the Lower House of Convocation, during their session of 1701, shows that this irreverent custom was then not very unfrequent. After all, this was but a very little matter as compared with gross desecrations such as happened here and there in remote country places during the last ten years of the preceding century. 'Amongst the Lambeth archives is a very long letter by Edmund Bowerman, vicar of Codrington, who gives a curious account of his parish. The people played cards on the communion table; and when they met to choose churchwardens, sat with their hats on, smoking and drinking, the clerk gravely saying, with a pipe in his mouth, that such had been the practice for the last sixty years.' This was in 1692. In 1693, Queen Mary wrote to Dean Hooper that she had been to Canterbury Cathedral for the Sunday morning service, and in the afternoon went to a parish church. 'She heard there a very good sermon, but she thought herself in a Dutch church, for the people stood on the communion table to look at her.'
Throughout the eighteenth century, a variety of secular matters used to be published, sometimes by custom and sometimes by law, during the time of divine service. In a general ignorance of letters, when a paper on the church door would have been an almost useless form, such notices were to a great extent almost necessary. But in themselves they were ill becoming the place and time; and a statute passed in the first year of our present sovereign has now made them illegal. The publication just before the sermon of poor-rate assessment, and of days of appeal in matters of house or window tax, must often have had a very distracting effect upon ratepayers who otherwise might have listened calmly to the arguments and admonitions of their pastor. John Johnson, writing in 1709, remarked with much truth that it was quite scandalous for hue-and-cries, and enquiries after lost goods, to be published in church. Even in our own generation. Mr. Beresford Hope, telling what he himself remembers, records how in the church he frequented as a boy, the clerk would make such announcements after the repeating of the Nicene Creed, or of meetings at the town hall of the executors of a late duke.
It was chiefly in the earlier part of the period that an observer visiting one church after another would have noticed the great differences in points of order. Such departures from uniformity were slight as compared to what they had been in the reigns of Elizabeth or Charles the First, yet were sufficient to arouse considerable uneasiness in the minds of many friends of the Church, as well as to point many sarcasms from some of its opponents. There were some special reasons for disquietude in those who feared to diverge a hand-breadth from the established rule. Although since the Restoration, the Church of England was undoubtedly popular, and had acquired, out of the very troubles through which she had passed, a venerable and well-tried aspect, there was, in the earlier part of the eighteenth century, a wide-spread feeling of instability both in ecclesiastical and political matters, to an extent no longer easy to be realised. No one felt sure what Romish and Jacobite machinations might not yet effect. For if the Stuarts remounted the throne, Rome might yet recover ascendancy. The Protestantism of the country was not yet absolutely secure. And therefore many Churchmen who, if they consulted their feelings only, would have been thoroughly in accord with the Laudean divines in their love of a more ornate ritual, were content to stand fast by such simple ceremonies as were everywhere acknowledged to be the rule. However much they might have a right to claim as their legitimate due usages which their rubrics seemed to authorise, and which were scarcely unfrequent even in the days of Heylyn and Cosin, they were not disposed to insist upon what would in their day be considered as innovations in the direction of Rome. Better to widen that breach rather than in any way to lessen it. So, too, with men of a different tone of mind, who, so far as their own tastes went, disliked all ceremonial and thought it rather an impediment than a help to devotion, and who would have been glad if the Church of England had approximated more closely to the habits of Presbyterians and Independents. They, too, in the early part of the last century felt, for the most part, they must be cautious, if they would be loyal to the communion to which they had yielded allegiance. If they indulged in Presbyterian fancies, they might perchance bring in the Presbyterians, an exchange which they were not the least prepared to make. The Dutch propensities of William, the ratification of Scotch Presbyterianism in the reign of Anne, the frequent alarm cry of Church in danger, made it seem quite possible that if civil dissensions should arise, Presbyterianism might yet lift up its head and find a wealthier home in the deaneries and rectories of England. And so they were more inclined to control their sympathies in that direction than they might have been under other circumstances. It may be added, the extreme vehemence, not to say virulence of party feeling, in ecclesiastical as in political matters, which prevailed in England so long as a decisive and universally recognised settlement was yet in suspense, obliged both High and Low Churchmen to keep tolerably close to the strict letter of the Act of Uniformity. When so much jealousy and mutual animosity were abroad, neither the one nor the other could venture, without raising a storm of opprobrium, to test to what extreme limits its utmost elasticity could be strained.
Notwithstanding such considerations, differences in religious opinion within the Church, especially as to those points which the Puritan controversy had brought into prominence, did not fail to find expression in the modes and usages of worship. Something has been already said on this point, in speaking of the furniture of churches, the decoration of the sanctuary, and the observance of fasts and festivals. What has now to be added relates rather to varieties in the manner of conducting services.
The rubric which occupies so prominent a place in our Prayer-book, stating 'that such ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof, at all times of their ministration, shall be retained and be in use, as were in the Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward VI.,' was of course not forgotten -- as indeed it could not be -- in the eighteenth century. High Churchmen not unfrequently called attention to it. John Johnson, writing in 1709, said he was by no means single in his belief that this order was still legally enjoined. Archbishop Sharp appears to have been of the same opinion, and used to say that he preferred the Communion office as it was in King Edward's Book. Nicholls, in his edition (1710) of Bishop Cosin's annotated Prayer-book, insisted upon the continuous legality of the vestments prescribed in the old rubric, which was 'the existing law,' he said, 'still in force at this day.' Bishop Gibson, the learned author of the 'Codex Juris Ecclesiastici' (1711), although he marked the rubric as practically obsolete, steadily maintained that legally the ornaments of ministers in performing Divine Service were the same as they had been in the earlier Liturgy. In Charles I.'s reign the rubric had been by no means obsolete. But after the Restoration the use of the more ornate vestments was not revived. Even the cope, though prescribed for use as an Eucharistic vestment in cathedrals and collegiate churches, had become almost obsolete. Norwich, Westminster, and Durham seem to have been the only exceptions. At Norwich, however, the cope, presented by the High Sheriff of Norfolk in the place of one that had been burnt during the Civil War, does not appear to have been much worn. Those at Westminster were reserved for great state occasions, such as Coronations and Royal funerals. It was only at Durham that the cope was constantly used on all festival days. Defoe wrote in 1727 that they were still worn by some of the residents, and he then described them as 'rich with embroidery and embossed work of silver, that indeed it was a kind of load to stand under them.' A story is sometimes told of Warburton, when Prebendary of Durham in 1759, throwing off his cope in a pet, and never wearing it again, because it disturbed his wig. Their use does not seem to have been totally discontinued until 1784.
The surplice was of course, throughout the period, the universally recognised vestment of the Church of England clergy. Not that it had altogether outlived the unreasoning hatred with which it was regarded by ultra-Protestants outside the National Church. It was still in the earlier part of the century inveighed against by some of their writers as 'a Babylonish garment,' 'a rag of the whore of Babylon,' a 'habit of the priests of Isis.' In William III.'s time, its use in the pulpit was evidently quite exceptional. The writer of a letter in the Strype Correspondence -- one of those in whose eyes a surplice was 'a fool's coat' -- making mention that on the previous day (in 1696) he had seen a minister preach in one, added that to the best of his remembrance he had never but once seen this before. During the next reign the custom was more common, but was looked upon as a decided mark of High Churchmanship. There is an expressive, and amusingly inconsequential 'though' in the following note from Thoresby's Diary for June 17, 1722: 'Mr. Rhodes preached well (though in his surplice).' In villages, however, it was very frequently worn, not so much from any idea of its propriety as what Pasquin in the 'Tatler' is made to call 'the most conscientious dress,' but simply from its being the only vestment provided by the parish. Too frequently it betrayed in its appearance, 'dirty and contemptible with age,' a careless indifference quite in keeping with other externals of worship. At the end of the seventeenth century many Low Church clergy were wont so far to violate the Act of Uniformity as often not to wear the surplice at all in church. They would sometimes wear it, said South, in a sermon preached in King William's reign, and oftener lay it aside. Such irregularities appear, however, to have been nearly discontinued in Queen Anne's time. About this date, the growing habit among clergymen of wearing a wig is said to have caused an alteration from the older form of the surplice. It was no longer sewn up and drawn over the head, but made open in front.
Those who abominated the surplice had looked with aversion on the academical hood. Even in the middle of the eighteenth century, some Low Church clergymen -- they would hardly be graduates of either University -- objected to its use. Christopher Pitt, recommending preachers to sort their sermons to their hearers, bids them, for example, not to be so indiscreet as to 'rail at hoods and organs at St. Paul's.'
Next, says Addison, after the clergy of the highest rank, such as bishops, deans, and archdeacons, come 'doctors of divinity, prebendaries and all that wear scarfs.' It was an object therefore of some ambition in his day to wear a scarf. There was many a clerical fop, we are told in a later paper of the 'Spectator,' who would wear it when he came up to London, that he might be mistaken for a dignitary of the Church, and be called 'doctor' by his landlady and by the waiter at Child's Coffee House. Noblemen also claimed a right of conferring a scarf upon their chaplains. In this case, those who knew the galling yoke that a chaplaincy too often was, might well entitle it 'a badge of servitude,' and 'a silken livery.'
At this point, a short digression may be permitted on the subject of clerical dress during the last century.
In the time of Swift and the 'Spectator,' clergymen generally wore their gowns when they travelled in the streets of London. But they wore them, so Hearne says, with a difference, very characteristic of those days of hot party strife. The Tory clergy only wore the M.A. gown; 'the Whigs and enemies of the Universities go in pudding-sleeve gowns,' or what was otherwise called the 'crape' or 'mourning gown.' In the country the correct clerical dress was simply the cassock. Fielding's genius has made good Parson Adams a familiar picture to most readers of English literature. We picture him careless of appearances, tramping along the muddy lanes with his cassock tucked up under his short great-coat. A clergyman, writing in 1722, upon 'the hardships and miseries of the inferior clergy in and about London,' compares with some bitterness the threadbare garments of the curate with 'the flaming gown and cassock' of the non-resident rector. He could wish, he said ('if the wish were canonical') that he might appear in a common habit rather than in a clerical garb which only excited derision by its squalor. He thought it a desirable recommendation to the religious and charitable societies of the day, that they should make gifts to the poorer clergy of new gowns and cassocks. Soon, however, after Fielding's time, the cassock gradually fell into disuse as an ordinary part of a clergyman's dress. It was still worn by many throughout the Sunday; but on week days was regarded as somewhat stiff and formal, even by those who insisted most on the proprieties. Ever since the Restoration, the old strictness about clerical dress had become more and more relaxed. The square cap had been out of favour during the Commonwealth, and was not generally resumed. The canonical skull-cap was next supplanted -- not without much scandal to persons of grave and staid habit -- by the fashionable peruke. There is a letter from the Duke of Monmouth, then Chancellor of Cambridge, to the Vice-Chancellor and University, October 8, 1674, in which this innovation is severely condemned. A few years later, Archbishop Tillotson himself set the example of wearing the obnoxious article. Many country incumbents not only dropped all observance of the old canonical regulations, but lowered the social character of their profession by making themselves undistinguishable in outward appearance from farmers or common graziers. South spoke of this in one of his sermons, preached towards the end of William III.'s reign. So also did Swift in 1731. The Dean, however, himself seems to have been a glaring offender against that sobriety of garb which befits a clergyman. In his journal to Stella, he speaks in one place of wearing 'a light camlet, faced with red velvet and silver buckles.' Of course eccentricities which Dean Swift allowed himself must not be taken as examples of what others ventured upon. But carelessness in all such matters went on increasing till about the seventh decade of the century. After that time a number of remonstrances and protests may be found against the brown coats, the plaid or white waistcoats, the white stockings, the leathern breeches, the scratch wigs, and so forth, in which clerical fops on the one hand, and clerical slovens on the other, were often wont to appear. A writer at the very end of the century pointed his remarks on the subject by calling the attention of his brother clergy to the distinctly anti-Christian purpose which had animated the French Convention in their suppression of the clerical habit.
If a modern Churchman could be carried back to the days of Queen Anne, and were at Church while service was going on, his eye would probably be caught by people standing up where he had been accustomed to see them sitting, and sitting down when, in our congregations, every one would be standing up. Some people, following the common custom of the Puritans, stood during the prayers. Some, on the other hand, sat during the creed. In both these cases there was plain neglect of the rubric. Where the Prayer-book was silent, uncertainty and variation of usage were more reasonable. Thus some stood at the Epistle, as well as at the Gospel, and some whenever the second lesson was from one of the Evangelists. What Cowper calls the 'divorce of knees from hassocks,' was perhaps not so frequent then as now. In pictures of church interiors of that date, the congregation is generally represented as really kneeling. Still, it was much too frequent, and quite fell in with the careless, self-indulgent habits of the time. Before the middle of the century it had become very general. In one of the papers of the 'Tatler,' we find there were some who neither stood nor knelt, but remained lazily sitting throughout the service like 'an audience at a playhouse.' Sitting while the Psalms were being sung was, notwithstanding many remonstrances, the rule rather than the exception during the earlier part of the century. The Puritan commission of 1641 had spoken of standing at the hymns as an innovation. Even Sherlock, in 1681, speaks of 'that universal practice of sitting while we sing the Psalms.' In 1717, Fleetwood speaks of standing at such times as if it were a singularity rather than otherwise. Hickes, on the other hand, writes in 1701, as if those who refused to stand at the singing of psalms and anthems were for the most part 'stiff, morose, and saturnine votists.' In fact, High Churchmen insisted on the one posture, while Low Churchmen generally preferred the other; and so the custom remained very variable, until the High Church reaction of Queen Anne's time succeeded in establishing, in this particular, a rule which was henceforth generally recognised. In 1741, Secker speaks of sitting during the singing as if, though common enough, it were still a mere careless habit.
At the beginning of the century many who had been brought up in Puritan traditions thoroughly disliked the custom of congregational responses. They called it 'a tossing of tennis balls,' and set it down as one of the points of formalism. Partly, perhaps, from a little of this sort of feeling, but far more often for no other reason than a lack of devotional spirit, that cold and most unattractive custom, which prevailed throughout the Georgian age, of making the clerk the mouthpiece of the congregation, fast gained ground. This, however, was much less general in the earlier part of the period than at its close. In Queen Anne's time there were many zealous Churchmen who both by word and example endeavoured to give a more hearty character to the public worship, and who thought that such 'unconcerned silence was a much greater evil than the risk of an occasional 'Stentor who bellowed terribly loud in the responses.' Most people are familiar with the paper in the 'Spectator,' which describes Sir Roger de Coverley at church, and his patriarchal care that his tenants and dependents should all have prayer-books, that they might duly take their part in the service.
The period which immediately followed the Revolution of 1689 was not one when minor questions of ritual, upon which there was difference of opinion between the two principal parties in the English Church, were likely to rest in peace. Turning eastward at the creeds was a case in point. There was quite a literature upon the subject. Many Low Churchmen, among whom may be mentioned Asplin, Hoadly, and Lord Chancellor King, contended that it was a papal or pagan superstition which ought to be wholly discontinued. The High Church writers, such as Cave, Meade, Bingham, Smallbroke, Whiston, Wesley, and Bisse, answered that it was not only the universal custom in the primitive Church, but edifying and impressive in itself as symbolising unity in the faith, hope of resurrection, and expectation of our Saviour's coming. The usage was very generally maintained.
The injunction of the 17th Canon, to bow with reverence when the name of the Lord Jesus is mentioned in time of divine service, was observed much as now. In the recital of the Creed it was the general custom. At other times, High Churchmen were for the most part careful to observe the practice, and Low Churchmen did not. Later in the century the canon was probably observed much more generally in country villages than among town congregations. Bisse observed that it was a primitive usage which ought least of all to be dropped at a time when Arian opinions were abroad.
At the close of the seventeenth century we find South and others bitterly complaining of the liberties taken with the Prayer-book by some of the 'Moderate' clergy. Some prayers, it appears, were omitted, and some were shortened, and in one form or another 'the divine service so curtailed,' says South in his exaggerated way, 'as if the people were to have but the tenths from the priest, for the tenths he had received from them.' No doubt the expectation of immediate changes in the liturgy, and the knowledge that some of the bishops were leaders in that movement, had an unsettling effect, adapted to encourage irregularities. At all events we hear little more of it, when the agitation in favour of comprehension had ceased. There was often a lax observance of the rubrics; but there appear to be no complaints of any serious omissions, until three or four of the Arian and semi-Arian clergy ventured, not only to leave out the Athanasian Creed, but to alter the doxologies, and to pass over the second and third petitions of the Litany.
The Athanasian Creed, however, might fairly be said to stand on a somewhat different footing. If it had been a pain and a stumbling block only to those who had adopted Whiston's opinions about the Trinity, men to whom the ordinary prayers could not fail to give offence, it would have been clear that such persons had no standing-ground in the ministry of the Church of England. But the case was notoriously otherwise. Persons who have not the least inclination to adopt heterodox opinions, may most reasonably object to the use in public worship of elaborate scholastic definitions on questions of acknowledged mystery. Those clergymen, therefore, whether in the eighteenth or in the nineteenth century, who have been accustomed to neglect the rubric which prescribes the use of this Creed on certain days, might feel reasonably justified in so doing, on the tacit understanding that, at the demand of the bishop they should either read the formula, notwithstanding their general dislike to it, or give up their office in the Church. No doubt it was quite as often omitted in the last century as in our own; and in George III.'s time, even if a desire had existed to enforce its use, there would have been the more difficulty in doing so from its having been forbidden in the King's Chapel.
The habit of reading continuously, as parts of one service, Morning Prayer, the Litany, and part of the office for the Communion, had hardly become fixed at the commencement of the century. John Johnson, writing in 1709, said it was an innovation. The old custom had been to have, on Sundays and holy days, prayers at six, and the Litany at nine, followed after a few minutes' interval by the Communion service. Even in Charles I.'s time they had often become joined, as a concession to the later hours that were gradually gaining ground, or, as Heylin expressed it, 'because of the sloth of the people.' But 'long after the Restoration' the distinction was maintained in some places, as in the Cathedrals of Canterbury and Worcester. And throughout the last century, 'Second Service' was a name in common general use for the Communion office.
Bull, Sherlock, Beveridge, and other Anglican divines, who belong more to the seventeenth than to the eighteenth century, had expressed much concern at the unfrequency of celebrations of the Eucharist as compared with a former age. Our Reformers, they said, had regarded it as an ordinary part of Christian worship. In the first Prayer-book of Edward VI. there had been express directions relating to a daily administration, not only in cathedrals, but in parish churches. But now, said Beveridge, people have so departed from primitive usage that they think once a week is too often. It had come to be monthly or perhaps quarterly. The Puritans, with the idea that the solemnity of the rite was enhanced by its recurring after comparatively lengthened intervals, discouraged frequent communions, and many Low Churchmen of the next generation held the same opinion. In the country, quarterly communions had become the general rule. The number of communicants had also very much diminished. No doubt this was owing in great measure to the general laxity which followed upon the Restoration. But the cause already mentioned contributed to keep away even religious people. It must be also remembered that, during the period of the Reformation, and for some time after, stated attendance at the Holy Communion was regarded not only as a religious duty, but as an ordinary sign of membership in the National Church, and of attachment to its principles. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, although the odious sacramental test was yet to survive for many a long year, that feeling had very generally passed away, and was being gradually superseded in many minds by an opposite idea that this Sacrament was not so much a help to Christian living, as a badge, from which many excellent people shrunk, of decided religious profession. With the rise of the religious societies there was a change for the better. The High Church movement of Queen Anne's time, regarded in its worthiest form and among its best representatives, was one in which the sacramental element was prominently marked. If a comparison is made between the number of churches in London where the Sacrament was weekly administered in Queen Anne's reign, and on the other hand, in the period from about the middle of George I.'s reign to the third or fourth decade of the present century, the difference would be strikingly in favour of the earlier date. In 1741, we find Secker admonishing the clergy of the diocese of Oxford, that they were bound to administer thrice in the year, that there ought to be an administration during the long interval between Whitsuntide and Christmas. 'And if,' he adds somewhat dubiously, 'you can afterwards advance from a quarterly communion to a monthly one, I make no doubt but you will.' Of course there were many verbal and many practical protests against the prevalent disregard of this central Christian ordinance. Thus both Wesley from a High Church point of view, and the Broad Church author of the 'Free and Candid Disquisitions,' urged the propriety of weekly celebrations. And before the end of the century there was doubtless some improvement. In many parish churches the general custom of a quarterly administration was broken through in favour of a monthly one, and in many cathedrals the Sacrament might once more be received on every Lord's Day. But Bishop Tomline might well feel it a matter for just complaint, that being at St. Paul's on Easter Day, 1800, 'in that vast and noble cathedral no more than six persons were found at the table of the Lord.' Before leaving this part of the subject, it should be added that, previous to the time when the Methodist organisation became unhappily separated from the National Church, the sermons of Wesley and his preachers were sometimes followed by a large accession of communicants at the parish church.
Kneeling to receive the Sacrament had been one of the principal scruples felt by the Presbyterians at the time when the great majority of them were anxious for comprehension within the National Church. Archbishop Tillotson, acting upon his well-known saying, 'Charity is above rubrics,' and in accordance with the practice of some of the Elizabethan divines, was wont to authorise by his example a considerable discretion on this point. Bishop Patrick, on the other hand, though no less earnest in his advocacy of comprehension, did not feel justified in departing from prescribed order, and when Du Moulin desired to receive the Sacrament from him, declined, 'not without many kind remarks,' to administer to him without his kneeling. After all schemes of comprehension had fallen through, the concession in question became very unfrequent. A pamphleteer of 1709 speaks doubtfully as to whether it still occurred or not. A greater licence in regard of posture was one of the suggestions of the 'Free and Candid Disquisitions.'
Through the Georgian period, a negligent habit was by no means unusual of reading the early part of the Communion service from the reading desk. Dr. Parr, in 1785, speaking of the changes he had introduced into his church at Hatton, evidently thought himself very correct in 'Communion service at the altar.'
Even in Bishop Bull's time the offertory was very much neglected in country places. Later in the century its disuse became more general. There were one or two parishes in his diocese, Secker said, where the old custom was retained of oblations for the support of the church and alms for the poor. But often there was no offertory at all: he hoped it might be revived and duly administered.
Some remarks have already been made upon the traces which were to be found in a few exceptional instances, during the eighteenth century, of the Eucharistic vestments as appointed in Edward VI.'s Prayer-book.
The sacramental 'usages,' so called, belong to the history of the Nonjurors rather than to that of the National Church. There was, however, no time when the theological and ecclesiastical opinions prevalent among the Nonjurors did not find favour among a few English Conformists, lay and clerical. Thus, the mixture of water with the wine, in conformity with Eastern practice, and in remembrance of the water and the blood, seems to have been occasionally found in parish churches. Hickes said he had found it to be the custom at Barking. Wesley also, and the early Oxford Methodists, approved of it.
In the early part of the seventeenth century George Herbert had said that the country parson must see that on great festivals his Church was 'perfumed with incense,' and 'stuck with boughs.' Even as late as George III.'s reign it appears that incense was not quite unknown in the English Church. We are told that on the principal holy days it used to be the 'constant practice at Ely to burn incense on the altar at the Cathedral, till Thomas Green, one of the prebendaries, and now (1779) Dean of Salisbury, a finical man, who is always taking snuff, objected to it, under pretence that it made his head to ache.'
The bad case into which Church music had fallen was much owing to those worthy men, the Parish Clerks. These officials were a great institution in the English Church of the last century. The Parish Clerks of London, from whom all their brethren in the country borrowed some degree of lustre, were an ancient and honourable company. They had been incorporated by Henry III. as 'The Brotherhood of St. Nicolas.' Their Charter had been renewed by Charles I., who conferred upon them additional privileges and immunities, under the name of 'The Warden and Fellowship of Parish Clerks of the City and Suburbs of London and the Liberties thereof, the City of Westminster, the Borough of Southwark, and the fifteen Parishes adjacent.' They had a Hall of their own in Bishopsgate Street; at St. Alban's Church they had their anniversary sermon; at St. Bridget's they had maintained, until about the end of the seventeenth century, a 'music-sermon' on St. Cecilia's day; and Clerkenwell derives its name from the solemn Mystery Plays which their guild in old days used to celebrate near the holy spring. There were certain taverns about the Exchange where they met as a kind of Club, 'men with grave countenances, short wigs, black clothes or dark camlet trimmed with black.' In pre-Reformation days they had ranked among the minor orders of the Church as assistants of the Priests; and so, especially in country churches, they might consider themselves as holding a position somewhat analogous, though on a humbler scale, to that of Precentors. In 1722 a clergyman, writing to the Bishop of London on the subject of the poverty and distressed condition of some of the poorer curates, spoke of the desirability of again admitting men in holy orders to be Parish Clerks. Early in the present century Hartley Coleridge made a somewhat similar suggestion. 'How often in town and country do we hear our divine Liturgy rendered wholly ludicrous by all imaginable tones, twangs, drawls, mouthings, wheezings, gruntings, snuffles and quidrollings, by all diversities of dialect, cacologies and cacophonies, by twistings, contortions and consolidations of visage, squintings and blinkings and upcastings of eyes.... Then, too, the discretion assumed by these Hogarthic studies of selecting the tune and verses to be sung makes the psalmody, instead of an integral and affecting portion of the service, as distracting and irrational an episode as the jigs and country dances scraped between the acts of a tragedy.' There would be no difficulty, he thought, in getting educated persons to discharge the office for little remuneration or none, if it were not for the troublesome and often disagreeable parish business annexed to the office. As it was, the Clerk occupied a very odd position, uniting the menial duties of a useful Church servant to other functions, the decent performance of which was utterly beyond the range of an illiterate man. Many of our readers may be acquainted with the witty satire in which, with a perpetual side glance at the fussy self-importance visible in Bishop Burnet's History, Pope writes 'the Memoirs of P.P., Clerk of this Parish.' With what delightful complacency this diligent representative of his class speaks of taking rank among 'men right worthy of their calling, of a clear and sweet voice, and of becoming gravity' -- of his place in the congregation at the feet of the Priest, -- of his raising the Psalm, -- of his arraying the ministers with the surplice, -- of his responsible part in the service of the Church! 'Remember, Paul, I said to myself, thou standest before men of high worship, the wise Mr. Justice Freeman, the grave Mr. Justice Tonson, the good Lady Jones, and the two virtuous gentlewomen her daughters, nay the great Sir Thomas Truby, knight and baronet, and my young master the Squire who shall one day be lord of this manor.' With what magisterial gravity he descants of whipping out the dogs, 'except the sober lap-dog of the good widow Howard,' -- tearing away the children's half-eaten apples, smoothing the dog's ears of the great Bible! How he prides himself in sweeping and trimming weekly the pews and benches, which were formerly swept but once in three years, -- in having the surplice darned, washed and laid up in fresh lavender, better than any other parish, -- in having discovered a thief with a Bible and key -- in his love of ringing, -- in his tutoring young men and maidens to tune their voice as it were with a psaltery, -- in being invited to the banquets of the Church officers, -- in the hints he has given to young clergymen, -- in his loyal attachment to the interests of 'our High Church.' Such was the Parish Clerk of the eighteenth century, the personage upon whom the charge of the musical part of the service mainly devolved, -- whose duty it was to give out the Psalm, to lead it, very commonly to read it out line by line, and frequently to select what was to be sung. No wonder, Secker, speaking of Church psalmody, requested his clergy to take great care how they chose their clerks. And no wonder, it may be added, that Church psalmody, under such conditions, fell into a state which was a reproach to the Church that could tolerate it.
In the first years of the eighteenth century there were still occasional discussions whether organs were to be considered superstitious and Popish. They had been destroyed or silenced in the time of the Commonwealth; and it was not without much misgiving on the part of timid Protestants that after the Restoration one London church after another admitted the suspected instruments. An organ which was set up at Tiverton in 1696 gave rise to much dispute, and was the occasion of Dodwell writing on 'The lawfulness of instrumental music in holy offices.' A pamphleteer in 1699, who signs himself N.N., quoted Isidore, Wicliffe, and Erasmus against the use of musical instruments in public worship. Scotch Presbyterians and English Dissenters entirely abjured them, till Rowland Hill, near the end of the century, erected one in the Surrey Chapel. It was noted on the other hand, as one of the signs of High Church reaction in Queen Anne's time, that churches without organs had thinner congregations.
It is perhaps not too much to say, that through a great part of the eighteenth century chanting was almost unknown in parish churches, and was regarded as distinctively belonging to 'Cathedral worship.' Watts, who, although a Nonconformist, was well acquainted with a great number of Churchmen, and was likely to be well informed on any question of psalmody, remarked, in somewhat quaint language, that 'the congregation of choristers in cathedral churches are the only Levites that sing praise unto the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer.'
Even in Cathedrals musical services were looked upon with great disfavour by many, and by many others with a bare tolerance nearly allied to disapproval. Could the question of their continuance have been put to popular vote they might probably have been maintained by a small majority as being conformable to old custom, but without appreciation, and with an implied understanding that they were wholly exceptional. The Commissioners of King William's time had suggested that the chanting of divine service in cathedrals should be laid aside; and even Archbishop Sharp, although in many respects a High Churchman, told Thoresby that he did not much approve of singing the prayers, 'but it having been the custom of all cathedrals since the Reformation, it is not to be altered without a law.' Exaggerated dread of Popery suspected latent evils, it scarcely knew what, lurking in this kind of worship. Perhaps, too, it was thought to border upon 'enthusiasm,' that other religious bugbear of the age. A paper in the 'Tatler' speaks of it not with disapproval, but with something of condescension to weaker minds, as 'the rapturous way of devotion.' In fact, cathedrals in general were almost unintelligible to the prevalent sentiment of the eighteenth century. Towards the end of the period a spirit of appreciation grew up, which Malcolm speaks of as being in marked contrast with the contemptuous indifference of a former date. They were regarded, no doubt, with a certain pride as splendid national memorials of a kind of devotion that had long passed away. Some young friends of David Hume, who had been to service at St. Paul's and found scarcely anybody there, began to speak of the folly of lavishing money on such useless structures. The famous sceptic gently rebuked them for talking without judgment. 'St. Paul's,' he said, 'as a monument of the religious feeling and taste of the country, does it honour and will endure. We have wasted millions upon a single campaign in Flanders, and without any good resulting from it.' There was no fanatic dislike to cathedrals, as when Lord Brooke had hoped that he might see the day when not one stone of St. Paul's should be left upon another. They were simply neglected, as if both they and those who yet loved the mode of worship perpetuated in them belonged to a bygone generation. In the North this was not so much the case. Durham Cathedral especially seems to have retained, in a greater degree than any other, not only the grandeur and hospitality of an older period, but also the affections of the townsmen around it. Defoe, in 1728, found a congregation of 500 people at the six-o'clock morning service. In most cases, even on Sundays, the attendance was miserably thin. Doubtless, many individual members of cathedral chapters loved the noble edifice and its solemn services with a very profound attachment; but, as a general rule, they belonged to the past and to the future far more than to the present. The only mode of utilising cathedrals which seems to have been thoroughly to the taste of the last century was the converting them into music-halls for oratorios. Early in the century we find Dean Swift at Dublin consenting -- not, however, without much demur -- to 'lend his cathedral to players and scrapers,' to act what he called their opera. Next, in St. Paul's, at the annual anniversary of the Sons of the Clergy, sober Churchmen saw with disgust a careless, pleasure-loving audience listening to singers promiscuously gathered from the theatres, and laughing, and eating, and drinking their wine in the intervals of the performance. Then came the festivals of the Three Choirs at Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford, very open to objection at a time when the managers thought of little but how to achieve for their undertaking popularity and pecuniary success. Sublime as is the music of 'The Messiah,' it was not often performed in the last century without circumstances which jarred strongly against the devotional feeling of a deeply religious man like John Newton, and led him to what might otherwise seem a most unreasonable hatred of oratorios.
In Queen Anne's time, there was often no part of the Church service in which the High or Low Church tone of the congregation was more closely betokened than when the preacher had just entered the pulpit. In the one case, the Bidding Prayer was said; in the other, there was an extempore prayer, often of considerable length, commonly called the pulpit prayer. The Bidding Prayer had its origin in pre-Reformation times. 'The way was first for the preacher to name and open his text, and then to call on the people to go to their prayers, and to tell them what they were to pray for; after which all the people said their beads in a general silence, and the preacher also kneeled down and said his.' It was thus not a prayer, but an exhortation to prayer, and instruction in the points commended to private but united worship. In Henry VIII.'s time the Pope's name was omitted, and prayer for the King under his proper titles strictly enjoined. In Elizabeth's reign, praise for all who had departed in God's faith was substituted for prayer in their behalf. By the existing Canons, as agreed upon in 1603, preachers were instructed to move the people to join with them in prayer before the sermon either in the Bidding form, 'or to that effect as briefly as conveniently they may.' It was, however, no longer clear whether it were itself a prayer, or, as in former time, an admonition to pray. On the one hand, it was called 'a form of prayer,' and was followed without a pause by the Lord's Prayer, and then by the sermon. On the other hand, it was prefaced not by the familiar 'Let us pray,' but by the old bidding, 'Ye shall pray,' or 'Pray ye,' and the congregation stood as listeners until the Lord's Prayer began. Hence a difference in practice arose, curiously characteristic of the controversies, ecclesiastical and political, which were being agitated at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century. In Charles I.'s reign, many of the clergy had chosen to consider it a prayer, and taking advantage of the permission to vary it, had converted it into one of those extempore effusions which Puritan feeling considered so peculiarly edifying. It need hardly be added that the Anglican party were more than ever careful to adhere to the older usage. After the Restoration, the Bidding Prayer was for a time not very much used, and the pulpit prayer, as adopted by Low Churchmen from Puritans and Presbyterians, began in many places to assume a most prominent position. 'Some men,' Sherlock said, in 1681, 'think they worship God sufficiently if they come time enough to church to join in the pulpit prayer.' High Churchmen could not endure it. 'It is a long, crude, extemporary prayer,' said South, 'in reproach of all the prayers which the Church, with such an admirable prudence and devotion, has been making before.' The use, however, of extempore prayer in this part of the service was defended by some of the clergy and bishops, as agreeable to the people, as conformable to the custom of the Reformed Churches abroad, and attractive to those among the Presbyterians and other denominations who only needed encouragement and a few slight concessions to exchange occasional for constant conformity. Meanwhile, at the end of the preceding century, 'the Bidding' had been more generally revived. Archbishop Tenison, in a circular to the clergy in 1695, had called attention to the neglect of it, and the Bishop of London revived its general use in his own diocese, to the astonishment, says Fleetwood, of many congregations who stared and stood amazed at 'Ye shall pray.' In Queen Anne's time it became very general, being quite in accord with the High Church sentiment which had then strongly set in. A political bias also was suspected. Not, perhaps, without reason; for it was a time when political prepossessions which could not openly be declared found vent in all kinds of byways. After the Revolution, while the title of the new sovereign was not yet secure, the Clergy were specially enjoined, that however else they might vary their prayer or exhortation to prayer before the sermon, they were in any case to mention the King by name. It was said -- whether in sarcasm or as a grave reality -- that the semi-Jacobite parsons, of whom there were many, found satisfaction in discovering a mode by which they could 'show at once their duty and their disgust' in a manner unexceptionally accordant with the law and with the Canon. 'Ye are bidden to pray,' or, as a certain Dr. M -- -- always worded it, 'Ye must pray, did not necessarily imply much heart in fulfilling the injunction by which the people were called upon to pray for their new lords. But, curiously enough, when George I. came to the throne, the political gloss attached to 'the Bidding' became reversed. In the royal directions to the archbishops, the canonical form, with the royal titles included, was strictly enjoined; and consequently not those who used, but those who neglected it, ran a risk of being set down as having Jacobite proclivities. It had, however, never been really popular, and few objected to its gradual disuse. Ever since the Revolution, it had introduced into a portion of the public worship far too decided an element of political feeling. The objection was the greater, because the liberty of variation had given it a certain personal character. If the preacher did not keep strictly to the words of the Canon, he could scarcely avoid making it appear, by the names omitted or inserted, what might be his political, his ecclesiastical, or his academical opinions. Those, again, whose respect for dignities was in excess -- a foible to which the age was prone -- would go through a list of titles, illustrious, right reverend, and right honourable, which ill accorded with a time of prayer. Before the middle of the century, except in university churches or on formal occasions, the Canon became generally obsolete, and the sermon was prefaced, as often in our own day, by a Collect and the Lord's Prayer.
At the opening of the eighteenth century the pulpit was no longer the power it had been in past days. It had been the strongest support of the Reformation; and monarchs and statesmen had known well how immense was its influence in informing and guiding the popular mind on all questions which bore upon religion or Church politics. In proportion, however, as the agency of the press had been developed, the preachers had lost more and more of their old monopoly. Numberless essays and pamphlets appeared, reflecting all shades of educated opinion, with much to say on questions of social morality and the duties of Churchmen and citizens. They did not by any means interfere with the primary office of the sermon. They were calculated rather to do preaching a good service. When other means of instruction are wanting, the preacher may feel himself bound to include a wide range of subjects. When the press comes to his aid, and relieves him for the most part of the more secular of his topics, he is the more at liberty to confine himself to matters which have a primary and direct bearing upon the spiritual life. In any case, however, whether the change be, on the whole, beneficial or not to the general character of preaching, it must evidently deprive it of some part of its former influence.
Yet in the reigns of William and Queen Anne good preaching was still highly appreciated and very popular. Jablouski said of his Protestant fellow-countrymen in Prussia, that the sermon had come to be considered so entirely the important part of the service that people commonly said, 'Will you go to sermon?' instead of 'to church.' It was not quite so in England; yet undoubtedly there was very generally something of the same feeling. 'Many,' said Sherlock, 'who have little other religion, are forward enough to hear sermons, and many will miss the prayers and come in only in time to hear the preaching.' If some of the incentives to good preaching, and some of the attributes which had distinguished it, were no longer conspicuous, other causes had come in to maintain the honour of the pulpit. That stir and movement of the intellectual faculty which was everywhere beginning to test the power of reason on all questions of theology and faith had both brought into existence a new style of preaching, and had secured for it a number of attentive hearers. The anxious and earnest, but, notwithstanding its occasional virulence, the somewhat unimpassioned controversy with Rome, and the newly aroused hopes of reconciling the moderate Dissenters, had tended to a similar result. A rich, imaginative eloquence, though it could not fail to have admirers, was out of favour, not only with those who considered Tillotson the model preacher, but also with High Churchmen. Jeremy Taylor would hardly have ranked high in Bishop Bull's estimation. His wit and metaphors, and 'tuneful pointed sentences,' would almost certainly have been adjudged by the good Bishop of St. David's unworthy of the grave and solemn dignity of the pulpit. And brilliant as were the sallies of Dr. South's vigorous and highly seasoned declamations, they were rarely of a kind to kindle imagination and stir emotion. The edge of his arguments was keen and cold; and they were addressed to the common reason of his hearers, no less than those of the 'Latitudinarian' Churchmen with whom he most delighted to contend.
That degradation of religion, which, even in the earlier years of the century, was beginning to lower the Gospel of redemption into a philosophy of morality, has been already alluded to. Under its depressing influence, preaching sank to a very low ebb. Hurd, in 1761, said, with perfect truth, that 'the common way of sermonising had become most wretched, and even the best models very defective.' By that date, however, improvement had already begun. It was sometimes said, and the assertion was not altogether unfounded, that these cold pulpit moralities were in a great measure the recoil from Methodist extravagances. But far more generally, as the century advanced, Methodism promoted the beneficial change which had already been noted in the case of Secker. The more zealous and observant of the Clergy could not fail to learn a valuable lesson from the wonderful power over the souls of men which their Methodist fellow-workmen -- the irregulars of the Church -- had acquired. And independently of their example, the same leaven was working among those sharers in the Evangelical revival who remained steadfast to the established order, as among those who felt themselves cramped by it. Whatever in other respects might be their faults of style and matter, they were, at all events, in no point what some sermons were called -- 'Stoical Essays,' 'imitations from a Christian pulpit of Seneca and Epictetus.' There were many mannerisms, and there was much want of breadth of thought, but in heart and purpose it was a true preaching of the Gospel.
Even towards the end of the century there were a few notable instances of the power which a great preacher might yet command. We are told of Dean Kirwan, who had left the Roman for the English Church, that even in times of public calamity and distress, his irresistible powers of persuasion repeatedly produced contributions exceeding a thousand or twelve hundred pounds at a sermon; and his hearers, not content with emptying their purses into the plate, sometimes threw in jewels or watches in earnest of further benefactions. A sermon of Bishop Horsley once produced an effect which would hardly be possible except under circumstances of great public excitement. When he preached in Westminster Abbey, before the House of Lords, on January 30, 1793, the whole assembly, stirred by his peroration, rose with one impulse, and remained standing till the sermon ended.
Amid the excited and angry controversies which occupied the earlier years of the century, the pulpit did not by any means retain a befitting calm. Later in the century there was no great cause for complaint on this ground.
Whiston says that he sometimes read in church one of the Homilies. So, no doubt, did others. But even in 1691 we find it mentioned that they could not be much used without scandal, as if they were read from laziness. 'The more the pity,' says the writer in question, 'for they are good preaching.' It was one of Tillotson's ideas to get a new set of Homilies written, as a supplement to the existing ones. There was to be one for each Sunday and principal holy day in the year; and the whole was to constitute a semi-authorised corpus of doctrinal and practical divinity adapted for general instruction and family reading. Burnet, Lloyd, and Patrick joined in the scheme, and some progress was made in carrying it out. It met, however, with opposition, and was ultimately laid aside.
To nearly every one of the London churches in Queen Anne's time a Lecturer was attached, independent in most cases of the incumbent. A great many of these foundations were an inheritance from Puritan times. The duty required being only that of preaching, men had been able to take a Lectureship who disapproved of various particulars in the order and government of the Established Church, and would not have entered themselves in the list of her regular ministers. There had been some advantage and some evil in this. It had enlarged to some extent the action of the Church, and provided within its limits a field of activity for men whose preaching was acceptable to a great number of Churchmen, but who hovered upon the borders of Nonconformity. Only it secured this advantage in a makeshift and scarcely authorised manner, and at the risk of introducing into parishes a source of disunion which was justly open to complaint. Lecturers were added to the Church system in towns without being incorporated into it. Room should have been found for them, without permanently attaching to a parish church a preacher whose views might be continually discordant with those of the incumbent and his curates. Under the circumstances, it was perhaps no more than a prudent requirement of the Act of Uniformity, that Lecturers should duly sign the Articles and before their first lecture read the Prayers, and make the same declarations as were obligatory upon other clergymen. They retained, however, something of the distinctive character which had marked them hitherto. Generally, they were decided Low Churchmen; the more so as lectureships were very commonly in the choice of the people, and the bulk of the electors were just that class of tradesmen in whom the Puritan, and afterwards the so-called Presbyterian, party in the Church had found its strongest support. For a like reason they were sometimes, no doubt, too much addicted to those arts by which the popular ear is won and retained, and which were particularly offensive to men whose most characteristic merits and faults were those of a different system. Bishop Newton said that lectureships were often disagreeable preferments, as subject to so many humours and caprices. On the other hand, the principal Lecturers in London held a position which able men might well be ambitious of holding. Nor was the long list of eminent men who had held London lectureships composed by any means exclusively of the leaders of one section of the English Church. If it contained the names of Tillotson, and Burnet, and Fleetwood, and Blackhall, and Willis, and Hoadly, and Herring, it contained also those of Sharp and Atterbury, of Stanhope, Bennet, Moss, and Marshall. The Lecture of St. Lawrence Jewry was conspicuously high in repute. 'Though but moderately endowed in point of profit, it was long considered as the post of honour. It had been possessed by a remarkable succession of the most able and celebrated preachers, of whom were the Archbishops Tillotson and Sharp; and it was usually attended by a variety of persons of the first note and eminence, particularly by numbers of the clergy, not only of the younger sort, but several also of long standing and established character.' On Friday evenings it was in fact described as being 'not so much a concourse of people, but a convocation of divines.' The suburbs, too, of London had their Lecturers, supported by voluntary contributions, 'the amount of which put to shame the scanty stipends of the curates.' At the end of the period the Lecturers kept their place, but in diminished numbers; their relative importance being the more dimmed by the increase in number of the parochial clergy, and by the migration from the old city churches to new ones in the suburbs and chapels of ease where no such foundations existed.
It is almost sad to note in Paterson's 'Pietas Londinensis' the number of commemorative sermons founded in London parishes under the vain hope of perpetuating a name for ever. At that time, however, 'all these lectures were constantly observed on their appointed days.' Funeral sermons had for some time been flourishing far too vigorously. Bossuet and Massillon have left magnificent examples of the noble pulpit oratory to which such occasions may give rise. But in England, funeral sermons were too often a reproach to the clergy who could preach them, and to the public opinion which encouraged them. Just in the same way as a book could scarcely be published without a dedication which, it might be thought, would bring only ridicule upon the personage extravagantly belauded in it, so it was with these funeral sermons. A good man like Kettlewell might well be 'scandalised with such fulsome panegyrics; it grieved him to the soul to see flattery taken sanctuary in the pulpit.' They had become an odious system, an ordinary funeral luxury, often handsomely paid for, which even the poor were ambitious to purchase.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century baptisms during time of public service were decidedly unfrequent. There had been at one time such great and widely-spread scruples at the sign of the cross and the use of sponsors, that many people had preferred, where they found it possible, to get their children baptized at home, that these adjuncts of the rite might be dispensed with. During the Commonwealth, so long as the public ceremonial of the Church of England was prohibited, private baptism had become a custom even among those churchmen who were most attached to the Anglican ritual. Such, thought Sherlock, were the principal causes of a neglect which seems to have become in his time almost universal. Often the form for public baptism was used on such occasions. But this irregularity was not the worst. There can be no doubt that these 'home christenings' had got to be very commonly looked upon as little more than an idle ceremony, and an occasion for jollity and tippling. This flagrant abuse could not fail to shock the minds of earnest men. We find Sherlock, Bull, Atterbury, Stanhope, Berriman, Secker, and a number of other Churchmen, using their best endeavours to bring about a more seemly reverence for the holy ordinance.
The taking of fees for baptism was a scandal not to be excused on any ground of prescription. This appears to have been not very unusual, and to have been done without shame and without rebuke. Probably it chiefly grew out of the above-mentioned habit of having this sacrament celebrated privately in houses.
Early in the century the sign of the cross in baptism was still looked upon by many with great suspicion. Even in 1773 Dean Tucker speaks of it as one of the two principal charges -- the other being that of kneeling at the Eucharist -- made by Dissenters against the established ritual. Objections to the use of sponsors were not so often heard. They would have been fewer still if there had been many Robert Nelsons. His letters to his godson, a young man just setting out to a merchant's office in Smyrna, are models of sound advice given by a wise, Christian-hearted man of the world. Wesley thought the office a good and expedient one; but regretted, as many other Churchmen before and since have done, the form in which some of the questions are put.
In the latter part of the seventeenth and through the earlier years of the eighteenth century, we find earnest Churchmen of all opinions sorely lamenting the comparative disuse of the old custom of catechizing on Sunday afternoons. Five successive archbishops of Canterbury -- Sheldon, Sancroft, Tillotson, Tenison, and Wake -- however widely their opinions might differ on some points relating to the edification of the Church, were cordially agreed in this. Sherlock, Kettlewell, Bull, Beveridge, Sharp, Fleetwood may be mentioned as others who, both by precept and example, insisted upon its importance. After Bishop Frampton's inability to take the oaths had caused his deprivation, the one public ministerial act in which he delighted to take part was to gather the children about him during the afternoon service, and catechize them, and expound to them the sermon they had heard. It seemed to them all that no preaching could take the place of catechizing as a means of bringing home to the young and scantily educated the doctrines of the Christian faith and the practical duties of religion, and that it was also eminently adapted to create an intelligent attachment to the Church in which they had been brought up. Such arguments had, of course, all the greater weight at a time when elementary schools were as yet so far from general, and the art of reading was still, comparatively speaking, the accomplishment of a few.
A vigorous but not very effectual attempt was made by many bishops and clergymen to enforce the canon which required servants and apprentices, as well as children, to attend the catechizing. Bull, for example, and Fleetwood, not only urged it as a duty, but charged the churchwardens of their dioceses to present for ecclesiastical rebuke or penalty all who refused to comply. In the Isle of Man the commanding personal influence of Bishop Wilson succeeded in carrying the system out. But elsewhere pastoral monitions and ecclesiastical menaces were generally unavailing to overcome the repugnance which people who were no longer children felt to the idea of submitting themselves to public questioning. Bishop Bull, at Brecknock, practically confessed the futility of the effort by giving a dole of twelve-pence a week to old people of that town on condition of their submitting to the ordeal.
Richard Baxter, in the seventeenth century, had said of confirmation that, so far from scrupling the true use of it, there was scarce any outward thing in the Church he valued more highly. But he liked not, he added, the English way. Dioceses were so vast that a bishop could not perform this and other offices for a hundredth part of his flock. Not one in a hundred was confirmed at all; and often the sacred rite wore the appearance of 'a running ceremony' and 'a game for boys.' Half a century later, in 1747, we find exactly the same reproach in Whiston's 'Memoirs.' 'Confirmation,' he said, 'is, I doubt, much oftener omitted than performed. And it is usually done in the Church of England in such a hurry and disorder, that it hardly deserves the name of a sacred ordinance of Christianity.' Fifty years again after this a clergyman, speaking of the great use of confirmation fitly prepared for and duly solemnised, describes it as being very constantly nothing better than 'a holiday ramble.' If, as Secker in one of his Charges said, the esteem of it was generally preserved in England, it certainly retained that respect in spite of circumstances which must inevitably have tended to bring it into disregard and contempt. But there was generally one preservative at least to keep the rite from degenerating into a mere unedifying ceremony. There was no period in the last century when the office and person of a bishop was not looked upon with a good deal of reverence among the people generally; nor is there any part of a bishop's office in which he speaks with so much weight of fatherly authority as when he confirms the young. And, besides, it would be very erroneous to suppose that there were not many bishops and many clergymen who did their utmost to make the rite an impressive reality.
That abominable system of clandestine marriages which reached its acme in the neighbourhood of the Debtors' Prison in the Fleet, has been made mention of by many writers. Apart from these glaring scandals there had been up to that date much irregularity in marriages. Banns were an established ordinance; but notwithstanding the remonstrances of some of the clergy, who urged, like Parson Adams, that the Church had prescribed a form with which all Christians ought to comply, they were, as Walpole says, 'totally in disuse, except among the inferior people.' Licences were obtained too easily, and not sufficiently insisted upon, and evening marriages were by no means unknown. After 1753 these abuses ceased. But most readers will remember that until a very recent date Church feeling had not restored to their proper honour the publication of banns. They were thought somewhat plebeian; and the high-fashionable and aristocratic method was to celebrate a marriage by special licence in a drawing-room, and with curtailed service.
The costly but ugly and unmeaning appurtenances which a simpler taste will soon, it is to be hoped, banish from our funerals, were customary long before the eighteenth century began. In George III.'s reign a prodigal expenditure on such occasions began to be thought less essential. Before that time the relatives of the deceased were generally anxious that the obsequies should be as pompous as their means would possibly allow. It was still much as it had been in the days of Charles II., when 'it was ordinarily remarked that it cost a private gentleman of small estate more to bury his wife than to endow his daughter for marriage to a rich man.' The bodies of 'persons of condition,' and of wealthy merchants or tradesmen, were often laid out in state in rooms draped with black, illuminated with wax candles, and thrown open to neighbours and other visitors. Sometimes, as at Pepys' funeral, an immense number of gold memorial rings were lavished even among comparatively slight acquaintances.
Throughout the whole of the eighteenth century Church discipline was in some respects a much greater reality than it is in our own day. No doubt in its later years the difference lay more in possibilities than in actual fact; so that the alterations in the law of excommunication made by the Act of 1813, exceedingly important as they were to persons who had come under censure of the ecclesiastical courts, had no very visible or direct bearing upon the English Church in general. Excommunication had been for some time becoming more than ever an unfamiliar word, limited almost entirely to the use of law courts. When, therefore, various obsolete practices relating to it were swept away and its consequences rendered less formidable, it is probable that few but lawyers were cognisant of any change. But in the first half of the last century, amid a number of complaints that notorious vice so continually escaped the formal censure of the Church, it is also evident that presentments and excommunications were far from uncommon, and that even open penance was not an excessive rarity. Episcopal instructions on the subject are frequent. Thus Archbishop Sharp requests his clergy to be very careful of anything like persecution; but where they cannot reform habitual delinquents, such as drunkards, profane persons, neglecters of God's worship, &c., by softer means, to take measures that they be presented. He would then do all he could before proceeding to excommunication. When that sentence had been actually denounced he allowed the clergyman to absolve the offender in sickness, when penitent, without the formal absolution under the Court Seal. Commutation for penances he did not approve of, but would sometimes allow them on the advice of the minister of the parish; the commutation to be entirely applied to Church uses and as notoriously as the offence had been. The public good was to be the rule. Secker's instructions to the clergy of Oxford in 1753 are still more full, though he prefaces them by the acknowledgment that he is 'perfectly sensible that both immorality and religion are grown almost beyond the reach of ecclesiastical power, which, having been in former times unwarrantably extended, hath been very unjustly cramped and weakened many ways.' Five years later, in his first Canterbury Charge, Secker speaks much less confidently on this subject. Wickedness, he said, of almost every kind, had made dreadful progress, but ecclesiastical authority was 'not only too much hindered, but too much despised to do almost anything to any purpose. In the small degree that it could be exerted usefully he trusted it would be.' He expressed himself to the same effect and still more regretfully in his last written production, his 'Concio coram synodo' in 1761.'
Fleetwood reminded the clergy and churchwardens that they were to present not only for flagitious conduct, but also for non-attendance at worship, for neglecting to send children or servants to be catechized, for not paying Church rates, and for public teaching without licence.
While a system of Church discipline carried out by presentments and excommunications was still, more or less effectually, in force, commutation of penance was very properly a matter for grave and careful consideration. It was obvious that laxity on such a point might fairly lay the Church open to a reproach, which Dissenters did not fail to make, of 'indulgences for sale.' One of William III.'s injunctions of 1695 was that 'no commutation of penance be made but by the express order of the bishop, and that the commutation be applied only to pious and charitable uses.' Early in Queen Anne's reign, in consequence of abuses which existed, the subject was debated in Convocation, and some stringent resolutions passed, by which it was hoped that commutations, where allowed, might be rendered perfectly unexceptionable. Some lay chancellors, on the other hand, wished to do away with penance altogether, and to substitute a regular system of fines payable to the public purse.
The poet Wordsworth has said that one of his earliest remembrances was the going to church one week-day to see a woman doing penance in a white sheet, and the disappointment of not getting a penny, which he had been told was given to all lookers-on. This must have been a very rare event at that date -- about 1777. Early in the century this sort of ecclesiastical pillory was somewhat more common. But it was evidently quite unfrequent even then. Pope's parish clerk is made to speak of it as distinctly an event. This, which was called 'solemn penance,' as contrasted with that lesser form which might consist only of confession and satisfaction, was an ordeal which sounds like a strange anachronism in times so near our own. Bishop Hildesley thus describes it in the Isle of Man, where it was enforced upon certain delinquents far more generally than elsewhere. 'The manner of doing penance is primitive and edifying. The penitent, clothed in a white sheet, &c., is brought into the church immediately before the Litany, and there continues till the sermon is ended; after which, and a proper exhortation, the congregation are desired to pray for him in a form prescribed for the purpose.' This having been done, so soon as it could be certified to the bishop that his repentance was believed to be sincere, he might be received back again, 'by a very solemn form,' into the peace of the Church. In England generally the ceremony was in all respects the same, except that no regular form existed for the readmission of penitents. Jones of Alconbury, in the 'Free and Candid Disquisitions' (1749), spoke of the need of a recognised office for this purpose. That which was commonly used had no authority, and was very imperfect. A form also for excommunication was also, he thought, a definite want of the English Church. For want of some such solemnity, excommunication was very deficient in impressiveness, not at all understood by the people in general, and less dreaded than should be, as signifying for the most part nothing more than the loss of a little money.
The strongly marked division of opinion which had prevailed during the reign of Elizabeth and Charles I. as to the mode of observing Sunday no longer existed. Formerly, Anglicans and Puritans had taken for the most part thoroughly opposite views, and the question had been controverted with much vehemence, and often with much bitterness. Happily for England, the Puritan view, in all its broader and more general features, had won peaceful possession of the ground. The harsher and more rigid observances with which many sectarians had overburdened the holy day, were kept up by some of the denominations, but could not be maintained in the National Church. In fact, their concession was the price of conquest. Anglican divines, and the great and influential body of laymen who were in accord with them, would never have acquiesced in prescriptions and prohibitions which were tenable, if tenable at all, only upon the assumption of a Sabbatarianism which they did not pretend to hold. But the Puritan Sunday, in all its principal characteristics, remained firmly established, and was as warmly supported by High Churchmen as by any who belonged to an opposite party. It has been aptly observed that several of Robert Nelson's remarks upon the proper observance of Sunday would have been derided, eighty or a hundred years previously, as Puritanical cant by men whose legitimate successors most warmly applauded what he wrote. No one whose opinion had any authority, desired, after Charles II.'s time, to revive the 'Book of Sports,' or regretted the abolition of Sunday wakes. Amid all the laxity of the Restoration period -- amid the partial triumph of Laudean ideas which marked the reign of Queen Anne -- amid the indifference and sluggishness in religious matters which soon afterwards set in -- reverence for the sanctity of the Lord's Day, and a fixed purpose that its general character of sedate quietness should not be broken into, grew, though it was but gradually, among almost all classes, into a tradition which was respected even by those who had very little care for other ordinances of religion.
Such, undoubtedly, was the predominant feeling of the eighteenth century; and it is difficult to overestimate its value in the support it gave to religion in times when such aid was more than ordinarily needed.
There are many aspects of Church life in relation to the social history of the period which the authors of these chapters are well aware they have either omitted entirely, or have very insufficiently touched upon. It is not that they have undervalued their interest as compared with matters which have been more fully discussed, but simply that the plan of their work almost precluded the attempt at anything like complete treatment of the whole of a subject which may be viewed from many sides.
[Footnote 838: Review of Milner's Church Arch, in Q. Rev. vol. vi.63.]
[Footnote 839: Warburton and Hurd's Correspondence, 3.]
[Footnote 840: James Fergusson's History of the Modern Styles of Architecture, 246.]
[Footnote 841: Id.246.]
[Footnote 842: Id.255.]
[Footnote 843: M.E.C. Walcot, Traditions, &c., of Cathedrals, 47.]
[Footnote 844: Quoted in Q. Rev. vol. vi.62.]
[Footnote 845: Id. vol. lxix. iii.]
[Footnote 846: Parentalia, p.305. Q. Rev. vol. ii.133.]
[Footnote 847: Il Penseroso.]
[Footnote 848: Persian Letters, No. xxvi.]
[Footnote 849: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, 1714, 236.]
[Footnote 850: Cawthorne's Poems. -- Anderson's English Poets, x.425.]
[Footnote 851: Seward's Anecdotes, 1798, ii.312.]
[Footnote 852: J. Fergusson's Mod. Archit. 282.]
[Footnote 853: Its advocates were very desirous, about this time, of substituting the term 'English' for 'Gothic.' -- Sayers, ii.440. Q. Rev. ii.133, iv.476.]
[Footnote 854: Sayers' 'Architect. Antiquities.' -- Life and Works, ii.476.]
[Footnote 855: Gentleman's Mag. 1799, 858.]
[Footnote 856: Gentleman's Mag. 1799, 667-70, 733-6, 858-61.]
[Footnote 857: A.P. Stanley's Hist. Memorials of Westminster Abbey, 540-2.]
[Footnote 858: M.E.C. Walcot, Traditions & Customs of Cathedrals, 47-55.]
[Footnote 859: Gentleman's Mag. 1799, 669.]
[Footnote 860: Id.]
[Footnote 861: Walcot, 52.]
[Footnote 862: Id.51.]
[Footnote 863: London Parishes, &c., 146.]
[Footnote 864: H. Walpole's Letters, i.360.]
[Footnote 865: Defoe's Tour through the whole Island, i.85.]
[Footnote 866: Many of them, however, could not yet have recovered from the treatment they had endured in the time of the Commonwealth. Though the Parliamentary committee appointed to decide the question had happily decided against the demolition of cathedrals, they were allowed to fall into a miserable state of dilapidation and decay.]
[Footnote 867: Secker's Eight Charges, 151-4.]
[Footnote 868: In his Charge to the Clergy of St. Asaph, 1710.]
[Footnote 869: Bishop Butler's Primary Charge, 1751.]
[Footnote 870: Horne's 'Thoughts on Various Subjects' -- Works, i.286.]
[Footnote 871: J. Hervey, 'Medit. among the Tombs' -- Works, i.1.]
[Footnote 872: W. Longman's History of St. Paul's, chap.4. See especially the account quoted there from Earle's Microcosmography, 1628.]
[Footnote 873: Quoted in Id.]
[Footnote 874: Hen. IV. part ii. act i. sc.2.]
[Footnote 875: Pilkington, quoted in Walcot's Cathedrals, 82.]
[Footnote 876: 'Heraclitus Ridens,' quoted in J. Malcolm's Manners, &c. of London, i.233.]
[Footnote 877: Walcot, 81.]
[Footnote 878: A.P. Stanley's Hist. Memorials of Westminster, 535.]
[Footnote 879: Pepys' Diary, vol. v.113, 114.]
[Footnote 880: Lord Braybrook's note to Pepys, v.114.]
[Footnote 881: Burns' Eccles. Law, i. p.328. High Churchmen, however, sometimes had their jest at the special love of the opposite party for 'their own Protestant Pews.' -- T. Lewis's Scourge, Apr.8, 1717, No.10.]
[Footnote 882: Anderson's British Poets, ix.82.]
[Footnote 883: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, passim.]
[Footnote 884: Prior's Poems, 'Epitaph on Jack and Joan' -- British Poets, vii.448.]
[Footnote 885: 'Baucis and Philemon' -- B. Poets, ix.13.]
[Footnote 886: Fielding's Jos. Andrews, book iv. chap. i.]
[Footnote 887: A.J.B. Beresford Hope, Worship in the Church of England, 1874, 17.]
[Footnote 888: Such an instance was once mentioned to the writer by Bishop Eden, the late Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland.]
[Footnote 889: Walpole's Letters, ii.35, quoted by Walcot, 56.]
[Footnote 890: Walcot, 53.]
[Footnote 891: Considerations on the present State of Religion, 1801, p.47. -- Polwhele's Introduction to Lavington, Sec. ccxx. &c.]
[Footnote 892: Considerations, &c.53. Q. Rev. vol. x.54.]
[Footnote 893: A.L. Barbauld's Works, by Lucy Aikin, ii. p.459.]
[Footnote 894: 'Hints on English Architecture' -- Dr. F. Savers' Life and Works, ii.203. So also Bishop Watson, in 1800, complained that not only were there many too few churches in London, but 'the inconvenience is much augmented by the pews which have been erected therein. He would have new churches built with no appropriated seats, simply benches' -- Anecdotes of Bishop Watson's Life, ii.111.]
[Footnote 895: Fielding's Joseph Andrews, chap.13.]
[Footnote 896: Robert Blair's The Grace, lines 36-7.]
[Footnote 897: Quoted, with some humour, by Bishop Newton, in defending Sir Joshua Reynolds' proposals for paintings in St. Paul's. -- Works, i.142.]
[Footnote 898: Christoph. Smart's Poems, 'The Hop Garden,' book ii.]
[Footnote 899: Fleetwood's 'Charge of 1710' -- Works, 479.]
[Footnote 900: Secker's 'Charge of 1758' -- Eight Charges, 191.]
[Footnote 901: John Byrom's Poems -- Chalmer's B. Poets, xv.214.]
[Footnote 902: Beresford Hope, Worship in the Church of E. 19.]
[Footnote 903: Tatler, No.264.]
[Footnote 904: Parochial Antiquities -- Jeaffreson, ii.16 (note).]
[Footnote 905: Gay's Poems, 'The Dirge' -- Anderson's B. Poets, viii.151.]
[Footnote 906: Burns' Eccles. Law, i.370.]
[Footnote 907: A few still remain, as at Rycote, in Oxfordshire.]
[Footnote 908: 'Smoothing the dog's ears of the great bible ... in the black letter in which our bibles are printed.' -- 'Memoirs of a Parish Clerk,' Pope's Works, vii.225.]
[Footnote 909: Walcot, 115.]
[Footnote 910: Gentleman's Mag. vol. lxix.667.]
[Footnote 911: Beresford Hope, Worship, &c., 68, 129.]
[Footnote 912: Secker's Fourth Charge (1750), 154, and Fifth Charge (1753), 180.]
[Footnote 913: Pietas Londinensis, passim.]
[Footnote 914: W. Longman's Hist. of St. Paul's, p.145.]
[Footnote 915: Ralph Thoresby's Correspondence, ii.384.]
[Footnote 916: Alex. Gilchrist's Life of Blake, i.41.]
[Footnote 917: Quoted, with a similar passage from Story's Journal, by Walcot, 104.]
[Footnote 918: Ralph Thoresby's Diary, i.60.]
[Footnote 919: Report of Conference of 1641, upon 'Innovations in Discipline,' quoted in Hunt's Religious Thought in England, i.196.]
[Footnote 920: Quoted in Beresford Hope, Worship, &c., p.232.]
[Footnote 921: Quoted by Hunt, iii.48, note.]
[Footnote 922: Thoresby's Diary, i.60.]
[Footnote 923: E. Nelson's Life of Bishop Bull, 52.]
[Footnote 924: Quoted in a review of Surtees' 'Hist. Durham,' Q. Rev. 39, 404. The charge was so persistently repeated that Archbishop Secker thought it just to his friend's memory to publish a formal defence. He regretted, however, that the cross had been erected. It was a cross of white marble let into a black slab, and surrounded by cedar work, in the wall over the Communion Table. -- T. Bartlett's Memoirs of Bishop Butler, 91, 155.]
[Footnote 925: Guardian, No.21, April 4, 1713.]
[Footnote 926: There were, however, some who put up pictures about the altar, and defended their use as 'the books of the vulgar.' -- Life of Bishop Kennet, in an.1716, 125.]
[Footnote 927: Lathbury's History of the Nonjurors, 256.]
[Footnote 928: Diary of Mary Countess Cowper (1714-20), pub.1864, 92; and Life of Bishop White Kennet, 1730, 141-2.]
[Footnote 929: A very different anecdote may be told of an altar-piece in St. John's College, Cambridge. 'At Chapel,' wrote Henry Martyn, in 1800, 'my soul ascended to God: and the sight of the picture at the altar, of St. John preaching in the wilderness, animated me exceedingly to devotedness to the life of a missionary.' -- Journal, &c., ed. by S. Wilberforce, quoted in Bartlett's Memoirs of Bishop Butler, 92.]
[Footnote 930: Longman's Hist. of St. Paul's, 141.]
[Footnote 931: 'Essay upon Painting.' -- Anderson's B. Poets, ix.824.]
[Footnote 932: Memoirs of Sir J. Reynolds, by H.W. Beechy, 224.]
[Footnote 933: Bishop Newton's Life and Works, 1787, i.142-4.]
[Footnote 934: Memoir, &c., i.225.]
[Footnote 935: Alex. Gilchrist's Life of W. Blake, i.96.]
[Footnote 936: Milman's Annals of St. Paul, quoted by Longman, Hist. of St. P. 153.]
[Footnote 937: Jas. Dallaway on Architecture, &c., 443-5.]
[Footnote 938: Beresford Hope, Worship, &c.19.]
[Footnote 939: 'When they startle at a dumb picture in a window.' -- T. Lewis, in The Scourge, Apr.9, 1717, No.9.]
[Footnote 940: Various illustrations of this may be found in Paterson's Pietas Londinensis.]
[Footnote 941: A new one was substituted for it in 1864.]
[Footnote 942: C. Winslow, Hints on Glass Colouring, i.206.]
[Footnote 943: Id.207.]
[Footnote 944: J. Dallaway, Architecture, &c., 446.]
[Footnote 945: Winslow, Hints, &c., 207.]
[Footnote 946: Dallaway, 446.]
[Footnote 947: C. Winslow, Memoirs Illustrative of the Art of Glass Painting, 153.]
[Footnote 948: C. Winslow, Hints, i.216.]
[Footnote 949: C. Winslow, Memoirs, &c., 153.]
'Shapes that with one broad glare the gazer strike, Kings, bishops, nuns, apostles, all alike.' -- T. Warton.]
[Footnote 951: Beechy's Memoirs of Sir Josh. Reynolds, 239.]
[Footnote 952: C. Winslow, Hints, &c., i.211.]
[Footnote 953: Hartley Coleridge, Marginalia, 253.]
[Footnote 954: C. Winslow, Memoirs, &c., 176.]
[Footnote 955: Dallaway's Architecture, &c., 454.]
[Footnote 956: Q. Rev. vol. xcv.317, 'Review of Gatty and Ellacombe on Bells.' The two next sentences are based on the same authority.]
[Footnote 957: Hearne's Reliquiae, May 22, 1733, Jan.2, 1731, May 2, 1734, &c.]
[Footnote 958: Q. Rev. vol. xxxix.308.]
[Footnote 959: Q. Rev. vol. xcv.328.]
[Footnote 960: Oliver Goldsmith's 'Life of K. Nash, Works, iii.374.]
[Footnote 961: Brand's Popular Antiquities, ii.221.]
[Footnote 962: T. Pennant's Holywell, &c., 99.]
[Footnote 963: T. Webb's Collect. of Epitaphs, 1775, i. pref.]
[Footnote 964: Secker's Eight Charges 182. Charge of 1753.]
'Lest her new grave the parson's cattle raze.
For both his cow and horse the churchyard graze.'
Gay's Shepherd's Week.]
[Footnote 966: Q. Rev. vol. xc.294.]
[Footnote 967: T. Webb's Collection of Epitaphs, 1775, ii.28.]
[Footnote 968: Elegy written in a churchyard in S. Wales, 1787, W. Mason's Works, 1811, i.113.]
[Footnote 969: Quoted in Brand's Popular Antiquities, ii.299.]
[Footnote 970: Spectator, No.388, May 20, 1712.]
[Footnote 971: 'Project, &c.' 1709 -- Swift's Works, viii.105, with Sir W. Scott's note.]
[Footnote 972: Calamy's Own Life, ii.289.]
[Footnote 973: Annals of England, iii.202.]
[Footnote 974: Secker's Fifth Charge, 1753. Butler's Durham Charge, 1751.]
[Footnote 975: Considerations on the Present State of Religion, 1801, chap. v.]
[Footnote 976: Q. Rev. vol. x.57.]
[Footnote 977: K. Polwhele's Introduction to Harrington, cclxxxi.]
[Footnote 978: Beveridge's Necessity and Advantages of Public Prayer, 34.]
[Footnote 979: Lathbury's Hist. of the Nonjurors, 77.]
[Footnote 980: Baxter's English Nonconformity, chap.41. Quoted in Bingham's 'Origines Ecclesiasticae:' -- Works ix.128.]
[Footnote 981: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, 305.]
[Footnote 982: Guardian, No.65, May 26, 1713.]
[Footnote 983: R. Nelson, Practice of True Devotion, chap. i. Sec.3.]
[Footnote 984: Brokesby's Life of Dodwell, 1715, 542.]
[Footnote 985: Nelson's Life of Bishop Bull, 375-6.]
[Footnote 986: Archbishop Sharp's Life, by his Son, i.201.]
[Footnote 987: Whiston's Memoirs, 1749, 124.]
[Footnote 988: Thoresby's Diary, Aug.8, 1702, i.375.]
[Footnote 989: Goldsmith's 'Life of Nash' -- Works, iii.277-8. De Foe's Tour through Great Britain, 1738, i.193, ii.242.]
[Footnote 990: Lloyd's Poems, 'A Tale,' c.1757, Cowper's Poems, 'Truth.']
[Footnote 991: B. Hope, Worship, &c., in the Ch. of E., 20.]
[Footnote 992: Pietas Londinensis, passim.]
[Footnote 993: Secker's Eight Charges, 77.]
[Footnote 994: Whiston mentions this with approval in his Memoirs, 1769, x.138. It is mentioned of Archbishop Sharp that he always kept Wednesday and Friday as days of humiliation, and Friday as a fast. -- Life, ii.81. Hearne and Grabe were very much scandalised at Dr. Hough making Friday his day for entertaining strangers. -- Hearne's Reliquiae, ii.30. The boys at Appleby School, about 1730, always, as is incidentally mentioned, went to morning prayers in the Church on Wednesdays and Fridays ('Memoir of R. Yates,' appended to G.W. Meadley's Memoirs of Paley, 123).]
[Footnote 995: R.A. Willmott, Lives of Sacred Poets, 1838, ii. x.173.]
[Footnote 996: Gilbert Wakefield's Memoirs, 1792, x.137.]
[Footnote 997: James Hervey's Works, 1805. Letter cxiv. Oct.28, 1753 -- Works, vol. vi.]
[Footnote 998: London Parishes, &c.]
[Footnote 999: A. Andrews' The Eighteenth Century, 63.]
[Footnote 1000: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis.]
[Footnote 1001: Johnson's Clergyman's Vade-Mecum, 1709, i.179.]
[Footnote 1002: Life of Kettlewell, 1719, 24.]
[Footnote 1003: Burnet's Four Discourses to the Clergy of Sarum, 1694, 338.]
[Footnote 1004: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, Introd.]
[Footnote 1005: Fleetwood's Works, 716.]
[Footnote 1006: Johnson's Vade-Mecum, i.189]
[Footnote 1007: E.g. Malcolm's London, &c., i.18.]
[Footnote 1008: Walcot's Cathedrals, &c. (of Rochester), 102.]
[Footnote 1009: Doran's Note to Horace Walpole's Journal, i.89.]
[Footnote 1010: Bramston, quoted in id.]
[Footnote 1011: C. Cruttwell's Life of Bishop Wilson, 370.]
[Footnote 1012: Life of Kettlewell, 24. Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, Introduction. H.B. Wilson's Hist. of Merchant Taylors, 1075. Chr. Wordsworth's Memoirs of W. Wordsworth, 8.]
[Footnote 1013: The Church of England Vindicated, &c., 1801, 15.]
[Footnote 1014: Secker's Eight Charges, 49.]
[Footnote 1015: Boswell's Life of Johnson, ii.191.]
[Footnote 1016: Beresford Hope, Worship, &c., 22.]
[Footnote 1017: J.B. Pearson, in Oxford Essays, 1858, 165.]
[Footnote 1018: Horsley's Charges, 114.]
[Footnote 1019: Brand's Popular Antiq. 1777, i.491.]
[Footnote 1020: Spectator, No.282.]
[Footnote 1021: Gay's Trivia, ii.438.]
[Footnote 1022: Walcot's Cathedrals, &c., 137.]
[Footnote 1023: Gay's Trivia, ii.442.]
[Footnote 1024: Stukeley's Hist. of Carausius, ii.164. Quoted by Walcot, 137.]
[Footnote 1025: Paterson's Pietas Lond.]
[Footnote 1026: As at St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, &c., id.80.]
[Footnote 1027: See p.68.]
[Footnote 1028: Piet. Lond. 272.]
[Footnote 1029: Walcot's Cathedrals, &c., 137.]
[Footnote 1030: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, 157.]
[Footnote 1031: Id.]
[Footnote 1032: Spectator, No.161, Sept.4, 1711.]
[Footnote 1033: Nelson's Life of Bull, 312.]
[Footnote 1034: Macaulay's History of Claybrook, 1791, 93, quoted by Brand, ii.12.]
[Footnote 1035: Wither's Emblems, 1635, quoted by Brand.]
[Footnote 1036: J. Walton's Life of Hooker. -- Hooker's Works, 1850, i.63.]
[Footnote 1037: Secker's Charges, 143.]
[Footnote 1038: Wilson's Hist. of St. Lawrence Pountney, 114.]
[Footnote 1039: Secker's Charges, 143.]
[Footnote 1040: J. Brand's Popular Antiquities, i.199.]
[Footnote 1041: De Foe's Works, Chalmers, vol. xx.8, note.]
[Footnote 1042: A Collection of Parl. Protests, 1737, 164.]
[Footnote 1043: Life of Ken, by a Layman, ii.653.]
[Footnote 1044: Whiston's Memoirs, 1749, 132.]
[Footnote 1045: Id. and 406.]
[Footnote 1046: G. Wakefield's Memoirs, 1792, 182.]
[Footnote 1047: Malcolm's Manners and Customs of London, ii.16-19.]
[Footnote 1048: Id.23.]
[Footnote 1049: Brand's Pop. Antiq. i.406-8.]
[Footnote 1050: Paterson's Pietas Lond. 23, 154, 164.]
[Footnote 1051: Burn's Eccl. Law, iii.235.]
[Footnote 1052: H.J. Stephen's Commentaries on the Laws, 1858, iii.54.]
[Footnote 1053: Dean Prideaux' Life and Letters, 1747, 95, and R. South's Sermons, 1823, iv.186.]
[Footnote 1054: Prideaux, as above.]
[Footnote 1055: Burnet, quoted in J. Hunt's Hist. of Rel. Thought in E. iii.223.]
[Footnote 1056: Secker's Eight Charges, 6.]
[Footnote 1057: B. Hope, Worship in the Ch. of E., 10. Secker makes the same remark, Eight Charges, 295.]
[Footnote 1058: Bishop Newton's Life and Works, i.115.]
[Footnote 1059: J. Newton's Memoirs, 54.]
[Footnote 1060: The Church of England Vindicated, 1801, 40.]
[Footnote 1061: Considerations on the Present State of Religion, 1801, 21, 29.]
[Footnote 1062: H. More's Memoirs, i.573.]
[Footnote 1063: H. More's Memoirs, i.656.]
[Footnote 1064: Id.458.]
[Footnote 1065: R. Thoresby's Diary (of 1684), i.178.]
[Footnote 1066: Spectator, No.20.]
[Footnote 1067: Spectator, No.50.]
[Footnote 1068: Id. No.259.]
[Footnote 1069: The scandalous interruptions during service which C. Simeon met with (1792-5) were, of course, of a different nature. -- Simeon's Memoirs, 86-92.]
[Footnote 1070: R. Polwhele's Introduction to Lavington, ccxliv.]
[Footnote 1071: Tindal, vol. i. and Somers Tracts, x.349, quoted in W. Palin's Hist. of the Ch. of E. from 1688 to 1717, 218.]
[Footnote 1072: Quoted in id.228.]
[Footnote 1073: Gibson Papers, v.9. Quoted in J. Stoughton's Church of the Revolution, 324.]
[Footnote 1074: Hooper's MS., quoted by Palin, 220.]
[Footnote 1075: Cripps's Laws of the Church, 675.]
[Footnote 1076: R. Burn's Eccles. Law, iii.273.]
[Footnote 1077: Johnson's Vade Mecum, i.281.]
[Footnote 1078: Worship in the Church of England, 9.]
[Footnote 1079: J. Johnson's Vade Mecum, i.21.]
[Footnote 1080: Life of Archbishop Sharp, by his Son, i.355.]
[Footnote 1081: B. Hope, Worship, &c., 109, 1211.]
[Footnote 1082: Gibson's Codex Jur. Eccl. 303, 472. This opinion is referred to with approval in An Account of London Parishes, &c.]
[Footnote 1083: Blomefield's Hist. of Norwich, quoted in id.140.]
[Footnote 1084: A.P. Stanley's Memoirs of Westminster Abbey, 192.]
[Footnote 1085: Defoe's Tour, 1727, iii.189, also Thoresby's Diary, i.60.]
[Footnote 1086: B. Hope, Worship, &c., 138.]
[Footnote 1087: Gent. Mag. for 1804, quoted in id.]
[Footnote 1088: The Scourge, by T. Lewis, Feb.11, 1717.]
[Footnote 1089: Sherlock, On Public Worship, 114.]
[Footnote 1090: The Scourge, May 16, 1717.]
[Footnote 1091: Quoted in Stoughton's Church of the Revolution, 323.]
[Footnote 1092: E. Thoresby's Diary, ii.341.]
[Footnote 1093: Tatler, No.129.]
[Footnote 1094: Secker's Eight Charges, 182.]
[Footnote 1095: R. South's Sermons, iv.191, also Strype Corresp. quoted by Stoughton, Ch. of the Rev., 323.]
[Footnote 1096: Mr. Wordsworth, however, mentions a portrait of 1730, showing the interior of an English church in which the celebrant at the Eucharist is robed in a black gown. -- Univ. Soc. in the Eighteenth Cent., 533.]
[Footnote 1097: Walcot's Cathedrals, &c., 121.]
[Footnote 1098: Christopher Pitt's Art of Preaching, c.1740. Anderson's Br. Poets, viii.821.]
[Footnote 1099: Spectator, No.21.]
[Footnote 1100: Id. No.609.]
[Footnote 1101: Id., and Oldham, in the Tatler, No.255.]
[Footnote 1102: Swift's 'Project for the Adv. of Rel.' -- Works, ix.97. Spectator, No.608.]
[Footnote 1103: Hearne's Reliq. Feb.1719-20, quoted in Chr. Wordsworth, Univ. Soc. in Eighteenth Century, 36, 516.]
[Footnote 1104: Fielding's Joseph Andrews, b. i. chap.16, b. ii. chaps.3, 7, &c.]
[Footnote 1105: Cf. C. Churchill's Independence: --
'O'er a brown cassock which had once been black,
Which hung in tatters o'er his brawny back.']
[Footnote 1106: Hardships, &c., of the Inf. Clergy, in a letter to the Bishop of London, 1722, 20, 93, 246.]
[Footnote 1107: Admonition to the Younger Clergy, 1764, and Philagoretes on the Pulpit, &c., quoted by Chr. Wordsworth, Universities, &c., 526, 529.]
[Footnote 1108: J.C. Jeaffreson's B. of the Clergy, ii.253.]
[Footnote 1109: Mrs. Abigail, &c., with some Free Thoughts on the Pretended Dignity of the Clergy, 1700.]
[Footnote 1110: Quoted in Justice and Necessity of Restraining the Clergy, &c., 1715, 41]
[Footnote 1111: Jeaffreson, ii.231.]
[Footnote 1112: R. South's Sermons, vol. iv.192.]
[Footnote 1113: Dean Swift's Works, vol. viii.313.]
[Footnote 1114: Chap. iii. p.26 quoted in A. Andrews' Eighteenth Century.]
[Footnote 1115: Considerations Addressed to the Clergy, 1798, 14.]
[Footnote 1116: Spectator, No.455. Burnet, as a matter of opinion, thought this more consonant with primitive usage, and, except during confession, more expressive of the feelings of faith and confidence. -- Four Discourses, &c., 1694, 323.]
[Footnote 1117: The Scourge, 1720, No.3.]
[Footnote 1118: Cruttwell's Life of Bishop Wilson, 12; and Fleetwood's 'Letter to an Inhabitant of St. Andrew's, Holborn,' 1717 -- Works.1737, 722-3.]
[Footnote 1119: Id.]
[Footnote 1120: Towards the end of the century, on the other hand, there were many churches where kneeling was sufficiently uncommon as almost to call special attention. Thus Admiral Austen was remarked upon as 'the officer who kneeled at church' (Jane Austen's Memoirs, 23); and C. Simeon writes in his Diary, '1780, March 8. Kneeled down before service; nor do I see any impropriety in it. Why should I be afraid or ashamed of all the world seeing me do my duty?' (Memoirs, 19).]
[Footnote 1121: Tatler, No.241.]
[Footnote 1122: J. Hunt, Relig. Thought in England, i.197.]
[Footnote 1123: Sherlock On Public Worship, 1681, ii. ch.2.]
[Footnote 1124: Fleetwood's Works, 1737, 723.]
[Footnote 1125: G. Hickes, Devotions, &c., second ed., 1701, Pref.]
[Footnote 1126: Second Charge, 1741, Secker's Eight Charges, 1769.]
[Footnote 1127: T. Bisse, The Beauty of Holiness, eighth ed.1721, 50, note.]
[Footnote 1128: J. Watts, 'Miscellaneous Thoughts' -- Works, ix.380.]
[Footnote 1129: Tatler, No.211.]
[Footnote 1130: Spectator, No.112.]
[Footnote 1131: Id. No.54.]
[Footnote 1132: Bingham's Works, ix.259. Cruttwell, 12. Walcott, 204. Somers Tracts, ix.507. Watts's Works, ix.380. Wakefield's Memoirs, 156. The Scourge, No.3.]
[Footnote 1133: Bisse, Beauty of Holiness, 145.]
[Footnote 1134: South's Works, iv.191.]
[Footnote 1135: Lathbury's Hist. of the Nonjurors, 156, 507-8. Parry's Hist. of the Ch. of E., iii, 165.]
[Footnote 1136: This gave occasion to a special pastoral letter of the Bishop of London, Dec.26, 1718.]
[Footnote 1137: Whiston's Memoirs, at date 1720, 249.]
[Footnote 1138: Thus we find Dr. Parr speaking of 'reviving' its use in his parish. Johnstone's 'Life of Parr' -- Q. Rev. 39, 268. Expressions of dislike to parts of it among Churchmen are very numerous throughout the century.]
[Footnote 1139: Barbauld's Works, by Aikin, ii.151. Bishop Watson's Life, i.395.]
[Footnote 1140: J. Johnson, Clergyman's Vade Mecum, i.12, and Heylin (Hist. pl. ii. cap.4) quoted by him.]
[Footnote 1141: N. Bisse, Beauty of Holiness, 123. C. Crutwell's Life of Bishop Wilson, 265 (in the Isle of Man, First and Second Services are the regular terms used in official ecclesiastical notices). London Parishes, 8.]
[Footnote 1142: Sherlock On Public Worship, 1681, 205, 219.]
[Footnote 1143: Beveridge On Frequent Communion, 155, 173.]
[Footnote 1144: Fleetwood for example, 'Charge to the Ely Clergy,' 1716 -- Works, 1737, 699.]
[Footnote 1145: Secker's Eight Charges, 63.]
[Footnote 1146: E.C.M. Walcott's Customs of Cathedrals, 101.]
[Footnote 1147: Quoted in The Church of England Vindicated, &c., 1801, 5.]
[Footnote 1148: Two Letters Concerning the Methodists, by the Rev. Moore Booker, 1751, Pref. iv.]
[Footnote 1149: Burnet's Funeral Sermon on Tillotson, quoted in Lathbury's Nonjurors, 156.]
[Footnote 1150: Du Moulin's Sober and Dispassionate Reply, &c., 1680, 32.]
[Footnote 1151: The Church of England's Complaint against the Irregularities of some of the Clergy, 1709, 15.]
[Footnote 1152: J. Johnstone's Life of Dr. Parr, qu. in Q. Rev. 39, 268.]
[Footnote 1153: R. Nelson's Life of Bull, 52.]
[Footnote 1154: Charge of 1741 -- Secker's Eight Charges, 63.]
[Footnote 1155: C. Leslie's 'Letter about the New Separation' -- Works, i.510. He adds that some clergymen of the Ch. of E. always used unleavened bread at the Sacrament.]
[Footnote 1156: L. Tyerman's Oxford Methodists, Pref. vi. Other allusions to an occasional preference for this usage occur in Bishop Horne's Works, App.203, and Gent. Mag. 1750, xx.75. In some editions of Bishop Wilson's Sacra Privata, there is a prayer for a blessing on the bread and wine-and-water.]
[Footnote 1157: Herbert's Country Parson quoted in Brand's Pop. Antiquities, i.521.]
[Footnote 1158: Walcott's Customs of Cathedrals, 137.]
[Footnote 1159: London Parishes, &c., 20.]
[Footnote 1160: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis, 52.]
[Footnote 1161: Id.104.]
[Footnote 1162: Spectator, No.372.]
[Footnote 1163: H.W. Cripps's Law of the Ch., &c., 218.]
[Footnote 1164: Hartley Coleridge, Essays and Marginalia, ii.338.]
[Footnote 1165: Pope's Works, vii.222-35. Naturally, Jacobite parsons were robed by Jacobite clerks. 'Who hath not observed several parish clerks that have ransacked Hopkins and Sternhold for staves in favour of the race of Jacob.' -- Addison, in The Freeholder, No.53.]
[Footnote 1166: John Wesley (Works, x.445), records an amusing reminiscence of his boyhood: 'One Sunday, immediately after sermon, my father's clerk said with an audible voice: |Let us sing to the praise, &c., an hymn of my own composing:
King William is come home, come home!
King William home is come!
Therefore let us together sing
The hymn that's called Te D'um.|']
[Footnote 1167: Singing the first line, in order to put the congregation in tune. -- Spectator, No.284. 'The clerk ordered to sing a Psalm, and so keep the congregation together, while Mr. Claxton was away.' -- Thoresby's Diary, April 4, 1713.]
[Footnote 1168: Bishop Gibson specially directed the clergy to instruct their clerks to do this. Charge of 1721, Gibson's Charges, 1744, 18.]
[Footnote 1169: Secker's Charges, 65. At St. Lawrence Pountney, the candidates for the office had to 'take the desk' on trial on successive Sundays. -- H.B. Wilson, Hist. of St. Lawr. P., 160.]
[Footnote 1170: Somers Tracts, xii.161. The Scourge, p.123.]
[Footnote 1171: Paterson's Pietas Lond., passim.]
[Footnote 1172: Brokesby's Life of Dodwell, 359, 369.]
[Footnote 1173: A Discourse concerning the Rise, &c., of Cathedral Worship, 1699.]
[Footnote 1174: V.R. Charlesworth's Life of Rowland Hill, 156.]
[Footnote 1175: Bishop Kennet's Life, 1730, 126.]
[Footnote 1176: J. Watts's 'Essay on Psalmody' -- Works, ix.8.]
[Footnote 1177: Teale's Lives of Eminent E. Laymen, 260.]
[Footnote 1178: R. Thoresby's Diary, March 16, 1697.]
[Footnote 1179: Tatler, No.198.]
[Footnote 1180: J.P. Malcolm, Manners, &c., of London, i.230.]
[Footnote 1181: Caldwell Papers, quoted in Q. Rev. 97, 404.]
[Footnote 1182: Laud's Hist. of his Troubles, 201, quoted in Southey's Book of the Church, 472.]
[Footnote 1183: Walcott's Cathedrals, 101.]
[Footnote 1184: Dr. Swift, To Himself on St. Cecilia's Day. Anderson's B. Poets, ix.107.]
[Footnote 1185: Malcolm's London, i.267.]
[Footnote 1186: J. Newton's Sermons on the Messiah, 1784-5.]
[Footnote 1187: Burnet's Hist. of Ref., quoted in S. Hilliard's Obligation of the Clergy to keep strictly to the Bidding form, 1715, 8.]
[Footnote 1188: Wheatley's B. of Common Prayer, 1860, 171.]
[Footnote 1189: Canon 55.]
[Footnote 1190: Bisse's Beauty of Holiness, 1721, 154.]
[Footnote 1191: Hilliard's Obligations, &c., 19.]
[Footnote 1192: Sherlock On Public Worship, 1681, 188.]
[Footnote 1193: South's Works, iv.180. He elsewhere calls it 'a long, crude, impertinent, upstart harangue.' So also Complaint of the Ch. of E., 1709, 19, and Thoresby's Diary, June 14, 1714. The Royal Guard, &c., 1684, 49.]
[Footnote 1194: J. Bingham's French Church's Apology for the Ch. of E. -- Works, ix.106.]
[Footnote 1195: Stoughton's Church of the Revolution, 205.]
[Footnote 1196: Fleetwood's Defence of Praying before Sermon, 1720 -- Works, 738.]
[Footnote 1197: G.G. Perry's Hist. of the Ch., 3, 228.]
[Footnote 1198: The Justice and Necessity of restraining the Clergy, &c., 1715, 64.]
[Footnote 1199: The Justice and Necessity of Restraining the Clergy, &c., 1715, 64.]
[Footnote 1200: Direction to our Archbishops, &c., Dec.11, 1714, Sec. vi.]
[Footnote 1201: Spectator, No.312.]
[Footnote 1202: Jablouski's Correspondence, in Archbishop Sharp's Life, by his Son, ii.157, App.2, 3.]
[Footnote 1203: Sherlock, On Rel. Worship, 66.]
[Footnote 1204: Nelson's Life of Bull, 420.]
[Footnote 1205: Warburton and Hurd's Correspondence, 31.]
[Footnote 1206: Horsley's Charges, 6; Reflection on the Clergy, &c., 1798, 42.]
[Footnote 1207: Pref. to W.B. Kirwan's Sermons, quoted in Q. Rev., xi.133.]
[Footnote 1208: A.P. Stanley's Hist. Mem. of Westminster Abbey, 535.]
[Footnote 1209: Officium Cleri, 1691, 31.]
[Footnote 1210: Birch's Life of Tillotson, cclv.]
[Footnote 1211: Paterson's Pietas Londinensis.]
[Footnote 1212: The Church of England's Complaint, &c., 1709, 21-2. The Scourge, No.10, 1717. Polwhele's Preface to Lavington, 220.]
[Footnote 1213: Bishop Newton's Life and Works, i.85.]
[Footnote 1214: J. Nichols' Literary Anecd. of Eighteenth Cent. iv.152.]
[Footnote 1215: Archbishop Sharp's Life, by his Son, i.31.]
[Footnote 1216: Hardships of the Inferior Clergy in and about London, &c., 1722, 85.]
[Footnote 1217: London Parishes, &c.]
[Footnote 1218: Paterson's Piet. Lond. 49, 50.]
[Footnote 1219: Teale's Lives, 253. So also Complaint of the Ch. of E. 1709, 23.]
[Footnote 1220: Sherlock On Public Worship, pt. ii. ch.4.]
[Footnote 1221: Id.]
[Footnote 1222: Nelson's Life of Bull, 39, 366.]
[Footnote 1223: F. Williams' Memoirs of Atterbury, i.266.]
[Footnote 1224: Nichols' Lit. An. iv.169.]
[Footnote 1225: J. Wilson's Hist. of Merch. Taylors, 1075.]
[Footnote 1226: Secker's Eight Charges, 254.]
[Footnote 1227: Gilbert Wakefield's Memoirs, 282; Miseries of the Inferior Clergy, &c., 1722, 18.]
[Footnote 1228: Dean Tucker's Works, 1772; Letter to Dr. Kippis, 23; Works, vol. i.]
[Footnote 1229: Secretan's Life of Nelson.]
[Footnote 1230: Wesley's Works, x.507-9.]
[Footnote 1231: J. Nichols' Lit. Anecd. i.475; Tillotson's Works, iii.514-16.]
[Footnote 1232: Lathbury's Hist. of the Nonjurors, 203.]
[Footnote 1233: Nelson's Life of Bull, 359; Fleetwood's Works, 472.]
[Footnote 1234: Sherlock On Public Worship, 204; Life of Kettlewell, 91; Secker's Charges, 53.]
[Footnote 1235: Baxter's English Nonconformity, chap.19, quoted in J. Bingham's Works, 'Objection of Dissenters Considered,' b. iii. ch.21.]
[Footnote 1236: Whiston's Memoirs, 469.]
[Footnote 1237: The Church of England Vindicated, &c., 1801, 15.]
[Footnote 1238: Secker's Charge of 1741.]
[Footnote 1239: Lord Mahon's History, chap.31; C. Knight's Old England; A. Andrews' Eighteenth Century, chaps.3 and 4; Malcolm's Manners and Customs of London, ii.272.]
[Footnote 1240: Fielding's Thomas Andrews, b. ii. ch.13.]
[Footnote 1241: H. Walpole's Memoirs of George II. 342.]
[Footnote 1242: Fleetwood's Works, 469; Archbishop Sharp's Life, i.353.]
[Footnote 1243: Church of England's Complaint, 1709, Preface.]
[Footnote 1244: Beresford Hope, Worship in the Ch. of E. 26.]
[Footnote 1245: J.C. Jeaffreson's Book about Clergy, ii.92.]
[Footnote 1246: A. Andrews' Eighteenth Century, chap. v.]
[Footnote 1247: S. Pepys' Diary, v. App.452.]
[Footnote 1248: Life of Archbishop Sharp, i.209-13.]
[Footnote 1249: Secker's Eight Charges, 166-72.]
[Footnote 1250: Secker's Eight Charges, 239.]
[Footnote 1251: Id.370.]
[Footnote 1252: Fleetwood's Works, 472, 474, 479.]
[Footnote 1253: T. Lewis, Danger of the Church Estab. &c.1720.]
[Footnote 1254: G.G. Perry's Hist. of the Ch. of E. iii.100.]
[Footnote 1255: Gibson's Codex, 1046, quoted in Burns' Eccl. Law, Art. 'Penance.']
[Footnote 1256: J. Johnson, Vade Mecum, ii. cvii.]
[Footnote 1257: Memoirs of W. Wordsworth, by Christoph. Wordsworth, 1851, 8.]
[Footnote 1258: So also in the South of England, between 1799 and 1803. 'The two women she took most notice of in the parish were the last persons who ever did penance at Hurstmonceaux, having both to stand in a white sheet in the Churchyard; so that people said, |There are Mrs. Hare Naylor's friends doing penance.|' -- A.J.C. Hare's Memorials of a Quiet Life, i.143. In 1805, one Sarah Chamberlain did penance in like manner at Littleham Church, near Exmouth.]
[Footnote 1259: Hildesley's History of the Isle of Man, in Cruttwell's Life of Wilson, 371.]
[Footnote 1260: Burns' Eccles. Law, Art. 'Penance'; Andrews' Eighteenth Century, 303.]
[Footnote 1261: Free and Candid Disquis. 1749, Sec. xviii.]
[Footnote 1262: J.C. Jeaffreson's B. of the Clergy, ii.140.]