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better preparation. Some pass through life, it is to be feared, with little lively apprehension of the work, for which they have made themselves responsible. It is sufficient, however, to have alluded to a topic, which no serious mind can pursue without much uneasiness and concern, My purpose is not to dwell on defects, or to detail their consequences, but to ask, whether a remedy cannot, and ought not, to be provided?
"A remedy, adequate to the occasion, and worthy of the country and of the Establishment, I presume not to suggest. I hope wiser men, and persons whose station qualifies them to take a wider view of the actual state of things, and of the means of meeting its difficulties, will turn their attention to the question.
"In the mean time I will venture to ask, whether something may not be done to mitigate an evil which, perhaps, cannot at once be altogether removed?
"It has long occurred to me, that if the venerable fathers of our Church were to require from every candidate for holy orders, in addition to the certificate of a degree, a further certificate of his having passed a year, subsequent to his graduation, in the house of some clergyman, engaged in the active discharge of parochial duty, much would be done to relieve the evil complained of. If that practice were once established, there are many exemplary clergymen, whose circumstances and situation would render such an accession to their family very desirable, though they might not be able, consistently with their ministerial engagements, or even though they might not be properly qualified, to take pupils for other purposes. Competition would produce the same effect in this, as in other cases. Parents would become nice in their choice bishops would distinguish some clergymen by their patronage; and others would acquire a name by their personal excellence and industry. There would be no impropriety in these probationers reading the appointed Lessons in the desk for the clergyman with whom they reside; and they might also accompany him in his pastoral visits, or even, if the cure were a large one, undertake some portion of that duty, under his superintendence, and by his direction, in his stead. They would practise themselves in writing sermons; form acquaintance with the mode of thinking and speaking, which prevails among the poor and ignorant; accustom themselves to converse with the sick and the dying; and, in short, acquire some experimental knowledge of the nature of the pastoral charge. Besides this, they would of course have leisure for direct theological study, in which they would receive instruction and advice; and, if it should happen, that some individuals should during the interval discover beforehand, that the clerical office is one, for which they have neither taste nor ability, it would be some advantage to themselves to be spared the pain of a fruitless, because late repentance, as well as to the Church itself, to be preserved from the addition of one member, who is unsuited to the work.
"May, then, a humble individual venture, with all submission, to invite the attention of the Right Reverend Bench to this question, as one, by which the welfare and efficiency of the body over which they preside, and consequently the best interests of the people entrusted to their care
might be greatly promoted? There seems no impediment to the immediate adoption of such a measure, if the spiritual rulers of the Church should unanimously deem it advisable. It is humbly presumed, that much good would result from it, even if it led to no ulterior measure. But among the benefits, for which I should look from a steady adheence to the proposal, one is, that it would secure the attention of persons to the present want of some such provision, who are best qualified to devise a remedy; and that it would thereby speedily occasion the introduction of a better."—pp. 7-11.
The second pamphlet opens with the following passage
"Let it be supposed, that the preparatory training, which I sketched my former Letter, has been undergone, and the candidate ordained a deacon! What next awaits him? What is the nature of his first appointment in the Church? In almost every instance he has the entire spiritual charge of a parish committed to him, his very title for orders being a curacy, and in most cases under a non-resident incumbent.
"Now, I will venture to ask, is not this an anomaly? Is it not such an anomaly as has not its parallel in any other profession? The lawyer begins his career as junior counsel, another barrister having the entire management of the cause. The physician enters a town where other physicians are established, and wins his way into practice by degrees. The ensign and midshipman never act independently, but are always in a situation, which is felt to be not only subordinate, but subject to a present superior. The young clergyman alone is entrusted with a charge, in which he has neither coadjutor, rival, nor actual superintendent.' pp. 5, 6.
Having pointed out the peculiar duties of a Deacon, and shown that these only were originally required of him by the Church of England, the author recommends a recurrence to the old system.
"For these reasons may I not presume to suggest that it would be wiser, and more consistent with the constitution of our Church, to introduce some alteration into the present practice in regard to deacons ? Would it not be fitter and more advisable, that deacons should be ordained only as assistant curates, unless under peculiar circumstances, than that they should be introduced at once, as is now almost univerversally the case, into the full duties of their profession, with a single, and, as it seems to have become through the prevalence of this custom, almost a formal exception? Were deacons ordained as assistant curates, after some such preparatory discipline as that, which I described in my former letter, they would first be initiated, and afterwards admitted gradually into the exercise of a profession, which, to say the least, requires a degree of prudence and discretion, not to be expected in a novice, till a course of experience, more or ess lengthened according to circumstances, should qualify them to enter with advantage upon the entire work of the pastoral office, and not only to superintend the humbler and more ordinary departments of ministerial employment, but to
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. According to this scheme it would not be necessary or desirable to fix an arbitrary period after receiving the first orders, for conferring the second. It might be made to depend on the character of the candidate, on his testimonials, and on the openings for his further employment; and, if after all practicable precautions he should prove unworthy of advancement to the higher rank of the ministry, the bishop would not then, as now, feel himself committed by a first step, which in practice carries with it almost the whole authority of a clergyman, to concede the second, when demanded. The maxim of the apostle would then be naturally adopted-They, that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree'-while, at the same time, a body of efficient auxiliaries would be spread over the land, whose services would be most valuable, by supplying a gap in our ecclesiastical provision for the spiritual wants of large and populous parishes, which is now felt most painfully. A body of deacons, to give effect to such institutions as that of the Metropolitan District-Visiting Society, would be not only a blessing in itself, but also a return withal to primitive discipline and order.
"To the plan, thus submitted to your consideration, I can anticipate but two serious objections. One is, that a deacon, to whom the second ordination has been refused, stands committed to an inferior grade of his profession, and one too in which he can hold no clerical preferment, and has no honorable mode of retreat.
"Yet I do not myself see why this should be so regarded. The distinction between the offices of priest and deacon ought to be wide and palpable; and, however important it may be to regard the priestly character as indelible, it may, even for that very reason, be prudent to allow a deacon, who is found incompetent, an easy escape from a profession, which he does not become. It was not till the beginning of the present century, that any law existed to disqualify a deacon, who chose to relinquish his profession, from being elected a member of parliament: and then an act was passed for the avowed purpose of exclud ing a particular individual. Yet I submit, if it be not safer and more beneficial to leave that and every other opening, by which the Church may be relieved of an unworthy or indolent member, than by closing all avenues to compel every deacon, whatever be his character or qualifications, to become a priest?
"It is true, that it is to deacons, that the bishop puts that solemn question Do you trust, that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministration?' And, doubtless no person ought to enter into that office, till he can conscientiously answer according to his best judgment- I trust so. Yet, if any mistake be made in that matter, if, upon trial, the habits, the attainments, or the qualifications of the candidate should be found to disappoint reasonable expectation, or if subsequent misconduct should reverse it, is it wise to leave no other alternative to the prelates of our Church, but either to advance him to a higher degree in the ministry, or to pronounce upon him what in the present state of things is tantamount to a sentence
of degradation? Were the door of retreat not actually shut, some, who have acted hastily in taking the first step, would never apply for the second; and this whole cause of painful embarrassment might be avoided.
"But another objection to the course I have recommended would be found in the want of adequate funds to remunerate a number of assistant curates, especially in those many parishes, where there is much work and little income: and this is indeed a serious difficulty, though, if the change would be right in itself, and beneficial in its operation, I do not despair, that something might be done to relieve it. It would not be necessary for a clergyman to enter upon the full emoluments of his profession, before he enters upon its full duties; and, this being admitted, some little might be accomplished towards providing this class of the working clergy with an income, if only a law were passed making the Easter offerings, after the expiration of existing interests, the property of the assistant deacons, wherever there are any; for these would, in many instances, be more cheerfully paid in return for specific services, and in some cases would furnish alone a sufficient remuneration for the first years of service, which a clergyman would render to his people. Other regulations in respect to fees might be made, which in large parishes, to which the proposed regulation would chiefly apply, might be made to ensure a moderate and competent salary to those deacons who perform the offices to which the fees are attached. Even, however, if no satisfactory provision of this kind should be found practicable, or sufficiently productive, I do not feel, that the suggestion ought to be abandoned on that account; for the appointment of a deacon, if altogether unendowed, would come to be regarded, as the last stage of that necessarily expensive education, which is designed to qualify him ultimately for the right discharge of the important duties of the priesthood.
"The suggestions, which I have now made, are submitted with much humility to your Lordship's candid consideration. They are offered with a simple desire to improve the efficiency of a Church, which only requires to be kept true to itself, in order to be faithful to its Divine Master. If in this reforming age I should seem to be only one of the many, who are given to change, I have at least this to say for myself, that I believe no change has been proposed in these pages, but such as is in harmony with the design and spirit of our existing institutions, and calculated to improve their stability by recalling them to their first principles."-pp. 9-15.
We do not presume to say that these recommendations can be adopted, but we repeat that they are worthy of general attention.
ART. XV.Account of the Edinburgh Sessional School, and the other Parochial Institutions for Education established in that city in the year 1812; with Strictures on Education in general. By John Wood, Esq. 12mo. Edinburgh. J. Wardlaw. 1830. THIS book deserves the serious attention of all who take an interest in the welfare of their fellow-creatures. The author, Mr. Wood, is an Advocate in Edinburgh, and has devoted himself to the superintendence of the Sessional Schools in that city with a perseverance which is above all praise-and with very extraor dinary success. His plan does not differ essentially from that which is adopted in the National Schools. But he has carried the questioning system, or as he terms it, the explanatory method' much farther than is usually carried in this country; and he has united miscellaneous reading and instruction in useful knowledge with the religious education of the children. We shall extract a few passages tending to exhibit the main points of distinction between the Sessional and the National Schools.
"Before entering upon the consideration of the reading department, may be proper to premise some general observations on that method of explanation, which has been so highly approved of in the Sessional School. Its object is threefold: first, to render more easy and pleasing the acquisition of the mechanical art of reading: secondly, to turn to advantage the particular instruction contained in every individual passage which is read and, above all, thirdly, to give the pupil, by means of a iminute analysis of each passage, a genéral command of his own language.
"It is of great importance to the proper understanding of the method, that all these objects should be kept distinctly in view. With regard to the first, no one, who has not witnessed the scheme in operation, can well imagine the animation and energy which it inspires. It is the constant remark of almost every stranger who visits the Sessional School, that its pupils have not at all the ordinary appearance of School-boys doomed to an unwilling task, but rather the happy faces of children at their sports. This distinction is chiefly to be attributed to that part of the system of which we are here treating; by which, in place of harassing the pupil with a mere mechanical routine of sounds and technicalities, his attention is excited, his curiosity is gratified, and his fancy is amused. "In the second place, when proper books are put into the hands of the scholars, every article, which they read, may be made the means, not only of forming in their youthful minds the invaluable habit of attention, but also of communicating to them, along with facility in the art of reading, much information, which is both adapted to their present age, and may be profitable to them for the rest of their lives. How different is the result where the mechanical art is made the exclusive object of the master's and the pupil's attention! How many fine passages have