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a child whose mistaken parent had supposed that registration was the same as baptism, has been brought to the sacred font, and there received the washing of regeneration ; many a hardened sinner has been met by the rebukes of the Word of God, convinced of hir evil doings, and brought with humility, penitence, and prayer to the House of God; and many sick and dying persons have received the ministrations of the Church, their cases being brought under the notice of the clergyman by the Scripture Reader. But, Sir, I have had an opportunity of observing that the usefulness of these men is much injured by the want of a sufficient identity with the Church to which they belong; they are strictly prohibited from saying or doing anything in the least degree ministerial, and the consequence is, that the people, finding the reader not recognized by the Church, are wanting in that respect for his office which they should entertain. In the primitive Church, the lector was allowed, in addition to his duty, to read the lessons in the Church, to purify women, and to bury the dead; besides which it was intimated that if he performed his office to the satisfaction of the Bishop, he should be advanced to the ministry of the Church (somewhat of the same description of persons were appointed at the Reformation), but the Scripture Readers of London and Winchester are not only prohibited from exercising any ministerial function, but not the slightest prospect is held out to them of advancement, though many of them have given up promising situations of business to devote themselves to the work, and the necessary consequence of this state of things is, that some of the most clever among them have either joined the ranks of dissent, or have gone back to the world, and the Scripture Readers' Association' find much difficulty in providing competent persons to undertake the work. What, then, should be done? Shall the men be allowed to practise certain ministerial offices by mere sufferance, or shall they be at once appointed to the office of Deacons in the Church? The latter at once appears to be the most proper course for the present distress; let the Scripture Readers and lay assistants in connection with the Church of England, in all parts of the country, be at once advanced to the order of Deacons, with the distinct understanding, that if, after a certain number of years, they shall have duly qualified themselves by literary attainment, and pious devotion to their work, they shall be further advanced to the holy order of Priesthood, and then when means of a pecuniary nature shall be provided, let the number of Deacons be increased to meet the wants of the population of our country.”
REVIVAL OF THE DIACONATE IN THE AMERICAN
At the last convention of the American Episcopal Church, in 1845, the Diaconate was restored by passing a canon appointing Deacons to discharge those minor ministerial duties which their office was instituted to fulfil. The American Church had, previous to the above period, engaged Scripture Readers to perform the inferior ministerial functions, but finding the practice not answerable to the wants of the Church, resolved on the revival of the Diaconate. This has been effected by repealing all canons which required an educational course qualification for the office similar to that demanded for the Presbyterate, by which arrangement persons can now enter the ministry whose talents do not fit them for a higher sphere of activity than that of the Diaconate, and who, had it not been restored, would have been altogether excluded from the ministry. It must be a peculiar satisfaction to those who feel interested in the restoration of Deacons in our Church, to see that it has been accomplished in the American Church-a Church which owes her origin to ours, is in full communion with our own, and whose ministers can pow officiate in our sanctuaries. May the Church of England, who is the mother of the American Church, follow the example of her daughter in the faith of Christ; and thus will the restoration of the Diaconate in the American communion, prove an harbinger of what will follow in our own. Our Church has not difficulties in her way which the American Church had when she revived the Diaconate, she could not effect it without first repealing old canons and enacting new ones; but the English Church can revive the order without any canon interfering, for there are not any which would prevent the immediate restoration of the order of Deacon.
We here insert the Canon of the American Church, which will doubtless be read with interest.
“Of a discretion to be allowed in the calling, trial, and examination of Deacons in certain cases,'
“ Section 1. It shall be lawful for any Bishop, upon being instructed so to do by a resolution of the convention of his diocese, to admit to the holy order of Deacons persons not tried and examined as prescribed in the canons
of candidates for orders,' of the learning of those who are to be ordained,' and of the preparatory exercises of a candidate for Deacon's orders,' under the following limitations and restrictions, viz.
"1. Every such person shall have attained the full age of twenty-four years.
“ 2. He shall have presented to the Bishop the certificate from the standing committee, required by section second of the canon of candidates for orders.'
“3. He shall have remained a candidate for orders at least one year from the date of such testimonials.
“ 4. He shall have presented to the Bishop a testimonial from at least one rector of a parish, signifying a belief that the person so applying is well qualified to minister in the office of a Deacon, to the glory of God and the edification of his Church.'
“5. He shall have been examined by the Bishop, and at least two Presbyters, on his fitness for ministrations declared in the ordinal to appertain to the office of a Deacon.
« Sect. II. A Deacon ordained under this canon shall not be allowed to take charge of a parish.
* Sect, III. In every parish in which a Deacon, ordained under this canon,
shall officiate, he shall be subject to the direction of the rector of the parish, so long as therein resident and officiating with the approbation of the Bishop.
“Sect. IV. A Deacon ordained under this canon shall not be transferable to another diocese, without the request of the Bishop to whom he is to be transferred, given in writing to the person to whose jurisdiction he belongs.
• Sect. V. A Deacon ordained under this canon shall not be entitled to a seat in any convention, nor made the basis of any representation in the management of the concerns of the Church.
“ Sect. VI. A Deacon ordained under this canon shall not be ordained to the priesthood without first going through all the preparatory exercises of a candidate for Deacon's orders, as required by the canon thereto relating, in addition to those required of a candidate for Priest's orders, nor without presenting all the testimonials, required by the canon of testimonials to be produced on the part of those who are to be ordained.
“ Sect. VII. In all respects not provided for by this canon, the Deacons who shall be ordained under it shall be under the same direction and control as other Deacons.”
INTENDED REVIVAL OF THE DIACONATE IN THE
DIOCESE OF EXETER.
When this periodical was preparing for the press, the Editor heard with feelings of lively gratification and interest that the Lord Bishop of Exeter intended to revive the Diaconate in his diocese, by admitting young men to Deacon's orders who had been educated at St. Mark's training school, Chelsea, or at the Exeter training school. As this is the first formal announcement from the Episcopal bench of the restoration of Deacons, the Editor feels that so very important a fact should be early noticed in this periodical. The gratitude of Churchmen is due to the Bishop of Exeter for having thus nobly come forward, and avowed his sentiments on the necessity that there exists for reviving the Diaconate, and for having so frankly declared his intention of putting his opinions into practice.
To the Bishop of Exeter the church at large owes an obligation, only to be repaid by following the example set by his lordship; and it is to be sincerely hoped that a measure so worthy of imitation will not be lost on those to whom the government of the church is committed.
“ At the annual meeting of the Exeter Diocesan Board of Education, held at the Chapter House on the 23rd ult. (Feb.), the Bishop of Exeter expressed his firm purpose of admitting to the Diaconate for an indefinite but long period any schoolmasters duly qualified and recommended to the training school. His lordship said that he should not bate in the least the theological qualifications of the candidates, but only Greek; Latin he should require, as it was required by the Canons. They must, after such ordination, continue to hold the office of schoolmaster, and in some large and important parish. He did not preclude them from the hope of admission to the Presbyterate. He commended the subject to the early consideration of the board, whom hé recommended to enlarge their establishment, and requested to put the training school under Government inspection. He impressively stated that he regarded the present as a crisis which would decide whether this were to continue a Christian country or not.”—From the Guardian of March 3rd, 1847.
THE CHEST FOR THE POOR.
The S4TH CANON, ENTITLED “A Chest FOR ALMS IN EVERY. CHURCH."
“The churchwardens shall have and provide, within three months after the publishing of these constitutions, a strong chest, with a hole in the upper part thereof, to be provided at the charge of the parish (if there be none such already provided), having three keys, of which one shall remain in the custody of the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, and the other two in the custody of the Churchwardens for the time being; which chest they shall set and fasten in the most convenient place, to the intent the parishioners may put into it their alms for their poor neighbours. And the Parson, Vicar, or Curate shall diligently, from time to time and especially when men make their testaments, call upon, exhort, and move their neighbours to conter and give, as they may well spare to the said chest; declaring unto them, that whereas heretofore they have been diligent to bestow much substance otherwise than God commanded, upon superstitious uses, now they ought at this time to be much more ready to help the poor and needy, knowing that to relieve the poor is a sacrifice wbich pleaseth God; and that also whatsoever is given for their comfort is given to Christ himself, and it is so accepted of him that he will mercifully reward the same. The which alms and devotions of the people the keepers of the keys shall yearly, quarterly, or oftener (as need requireth), take out of the chest, and distribute the same in the presence of most of the parish, or six of the chief of them, to be truly and faithfully delivered to their most poor and needy neighbours."
FROM MEDE'S DISCOURSE ON ACTS X. 4.
* And he said unto him, thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial
before God.” "Observe. The joining of almsdeeds with prayer ; Cornelius we see joined them, and is therefore commended for a devout man, and one that feared God. And by the angel's report from God himself, we hear how graciously he accepted them; giving us to understand that a devotion thus armed was of all others the most powerful to pierce into his dwelling-place, and fetch a blessing from him. Therefore our Saviour likewise (Matthew vi. 1–5) joins the precepts of alms and prayer together, teaching us how to give alms, and how to pray in one sermon, as things that ought to go hand in hand, and not be separated asunder. It was also the ordinance of the Church, in the Apostles' times, that the first day of the week, which was the time of public prayer, should be the time also of alms. So saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week (that is, upon the Lord's day) let every one lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.' Which institution seems to be derived from the commandment of God in the law twice repeated, Exod. xxiii. 15; Deut. xvi. 16; · Let no man appear before the Lord empty' For the words
annexed to that law, Deut. xvi. (where it applied to the three great feasts, when all Israel was to assemble to pray before the Lord in his tabernacle), the words, I say, there annexed sound altogether like unto these of St. Paul concerning the Lord's day, · Three times a-year shall all the males appear
before the Lord, and they shall not appear before the Lord einpty. Every one shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God, which he hath given thee.' Is not this the same in sense with St. Paul's, •Let every one lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him?' The primitive church after the Apostles followed the same precedent, and our own Reformed Church hath ordained the same in her service-book, were it accordingly practised as was intended; for after the epistle and gospel, she appoints divers choice sentences of Scripture to be read, which exhort us to alms, and other offerings to the honour of Almighty God; and then, as supposing it to be done, in the prayer for the whole estate of Christ's Church,
We humbly beseech him most mercifully to accept our alms, and receive our prayers which we offer unto his Divine Majesty.”
OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF THE POOR LAWS.
From Chitty's Burn's Justice of the Peace. Relief of the Poor, ANCIENTLY AN ECCLESIASTICAL CONCERN.-According to the early writers upon the subject of the poor, and their relief, one of the first consequences of the establishment of the Christian religion in this kingdom, was a provision for the maintenance of the poor. It is stated that the fourth part of the tithes of every parish was devoted to this purpose, under the direction of the minister, assisted by the church wardens, and other principal inhabitants; and" as it was regarded as a matter of ecclesiastical concern, the whole was under the supervision and control of the Bishop, whenever his interference became necessary.
Blackstone, upon this subject, says, “The poor of England till the time of Henry VIII. subsisted entirely upon private benevolence, and the charity of well-disposed Christians. For till the statute, 27 llen. VIII, c. 25, I find no compulsory method chalked out for this purpose ; but the poor seem to have been left to such relief as the humanity of their neighbours would afford thein.' (1 Bla. Com. 359.) Still, however, if the contributions were voluntary, the method was in the course of time so far reduced to a system, as to be sanctioned and upheld by acts of parliament, for by the statute last cited, the churchwardens, or two others of every parish, were to make collections for the poor on Sundays. By 5 and 6 Ed. VI. c. 2, the minister and churchwardens were annually to appoint two able persons or more to be gatherers and collectors of alms for the poor. By 39 Eliz. c. 3, the churchwardens of every parish, and four substantial householders were to be nominated yearly in Easter week by two justices, and called overseers of the poor. Next followed the important statute, 43 Eliz. c. 2, out of which, Dr. Burn observes, “More litigation and a greater amount of revenue have arisen, with consequences more extensive and more serious in their aspect than ever were identified with any other acts of parliament, or system of legislation whatever. • By these and other acts,' says Sir John Nicholi, the maintenance of the poor has now become much more matter of temporal than of spiritual concern."
THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY AND THE POOR BOX.
“Among the great advantages which have arisen from the improved and increased energy of the present race of ministers of the Established Church,