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was the way of it at its first promulgation. It is the way of it in every missionary enterprise. "And seeing, that the disinclination of the human heart to entertain the overtures of the gospel, forms a mightier obstacle to its reception among men, than all the oceans and continents which missionaries have to traverse, there ought to be a series of aggressive measures in behalf of Christianity, carried on from one age to another, in every clime and country of Christendom. To wait till the people shall stir so effectually, as that places of worship shall be built by them, and the maintenance of teachers shall be provided by them, and that, abundantly enough for all the moral and spiritual necessities of our nation, is very like a reversal of the principle on which Christianity was first introduced amongst us, and on which, we apprehend, Christianity must still be upheld amongst us. We, therefore, hold it to be wise, in every Christian government, to meet the people with a ready-made apparatus of Christian education. It is like a constant and successive going forth amongst them with those lessons which they never would have sought after, through all the sacrifices that they else must have had to make, and all the obstacles that they else must have overcome. It is in order to perpetuate the religion of the people, keeping up the same aggressiveness of operation, which first originated the religion of the people. We are aware that itinerancy is an aggressive operation, and that dissenters do itinerate. But we mistake if, in this
there is more of the gospel brought into contact with the inhabitants of our country, throughout the space of a year, than is heard on every single Sabbath within the gale of its two establishments. This is not fastening the contempt of insignificance on dissenters...
It is a mere question of moral and spiritual tactics, which we are at present engaged with.” (P.93–95.):
“ People will not be drawn in such abundance to Christianity, by a mere process of attraction, as Christianity can be made to radiate. upon them, by a process of emanation. We have not yet heard of any dissenting minister in towns, who assumed to himself a locality for the purpose of its moral and religious cultivation. We think that it would greatly add to the power of his ministration, if he did so. But, as the case stands, his pulpit operates on the neighbourhood, chiefly as a centre of attraction ; and the people move, in the first instance, towards him, instead of him, in the first instance, going forth among the people." (P. 101.)
Thus does our author, with great vigour of reasoning, and some inaccuracy of language, settle the question of a religious establishment over the country at large. Did it fall within our purpose so far to extend our extracts, we might shew that he is by no means an ungenerous enemy of Dissenters, or backward to allow them that share of merit which they may justly claim. The grand desideratum, with respect to an establishment, will always be, that it should be effectual to those ends for which it is ordained. If an establishment be the only centre from which a steady and a constant light can radiate on the community what will be the consequence, if it fail in respect to these grand
purposes, for which it is so peculiarly and so exclusively adapted! If the light that is in us be darkness, how great will be that darkness!
Dr. Chalmers next proceeds to argue for the especial advantages of a religious establishment in towns; and, while on this subject, extends the principle of locality to churches, which he had before applied only to Sunday schools.
“ In our last chapter, we made a comparison between local and general Sabbath schools. Now, a church is, or easily might be, in effect, a local Sabbath school. Its district is, or ought to be, the parish with which it stands nominally associated, and its sitters ought to be the inhabitants of that parish. The established ministers of a large town should be enabled each to concentrate the full influence of his character and office, on his own distinct and separate portion of the whole territory. Any thing that can disturb the reiteration of his attentions to the same local quarter of the city, should be resisted as a detraction from his real usefulness. And what we affirm, is, that the united influence of the exertions of all the clergy, when generalised and extended over the town, will never nearly amount to the sum of their separate influences, when each is permitted to give the whole both of his Sabbath and week-day labour to the people of his own geographical vineyard.” (P. 95, 96.)
The arguments here also are of two kinds, as in the case of the Sunday schools—those which relate to the teacher, and those which relate to his people.
“ In the first place, then, it is not so likely that a minister will go forth on his share of the population, when spread at random over the whole city, as when they lie within the limits of a space that is overtakeable. He feels an incitement to move in the latter way of it, which he does not feel when his attentions are dispersed over a wide and bewildering generality. He, under the one arrangement, may have rare, and rapid, and transient intercourse with the individuals of a diffused multitude; but this can never ripen into solid acquaintanceship with more than a very few. Under the other arrangement, he may, at a greatly less expense, attain to terms of confidence with some, and of familiarity with many; and it would add prodigiously to this operation, were his hearers, on the Sabbath, also his parochial acquaintances through the week. By this simple expedient alone, he would attain such an establishment of himself in his parish, in a single month, as he will not otherwise reach, but by the labour and assiduity of years. The very consciousness that, in a certain quarter of the city, luy. the great body of his congregation, would be enough to assure him of a welcome there, and a friendship there, that would ever be inclining his footsteps to his parish, as the fittest scene of promise and of preparation for all his enterprises ; and he would soon find that the business of the Sabbath, and the business of the week, had a most wholesome, reciprocal influence the one upon the other." (P. 97.)
" Ras the second influence of locality in this matter is perhaps of
greater efficacy still.”..
• It is incalculable how much this last is promoted, by the mere juxta-position of the people to one another. There is a great deal more than perhaps can be brought out by a mere verbal demonstration, in a number of contiguous families, all related by one tie to the same place of worship, and the same minister. It would go to revive a feeling, which is now nearly obliterated in towns, whereby the house which a man occupies should be connected, in his mind, with the parish in which it is situated, and an ecclesiastical relationship be recognized with the clergyman of the parish. In these circumstances, where there was no interference of principle, and no personal disapprobation of the clergyman, attendance upon the parish church would at length pass into one of the habitual and established proprieties of every little vicinage. Old families would keep it up, and new families would fall into it; and the demand for seats, instead of slackening under sich an arrangement, would become more intense every year, so as to form a distinct call for more churches, whenever they were called for by the exigencies of a growing population.” (P. 98, 99.)
Dr. Chalmers' views respecting the advantages of his principle of locality, are equally captivating in theory, whether applied to the case of schools or of churches. But we apprehend that their practical application, where they are not already in operation, will be found far easier in the former case than in the latter. In both, a mechanism is requisite; but in the one case it is light, in the other ponderous. In the one case it is easily formed, in the other slowly put together. In the one case it may readily be shifted with a fluctuating population, in the other it cannot easily be transferred from one locality to another. Whilst our country offers many lamentable instances of population without church-room, it offers others of church-room without population. However, we are not anxious to start objections. As far as Dr. Chalmers' views are attainable, they are undoubtedly good; and the proper course, when that is the case, is not to magnify difficulties, but to contribute what we can towards their removal. We shall therefore permit the Doctor again to speak for himself.
“ The pulpit of an established minister may, like a local Sabbath school, be turned into a centre of emanation; instead of having a merely attractive influence, which can operate only where a taste for Christianity already exists, there may, in the person of him who fills it, and in virtue of the peculiar advantages which we have just ex, plained, go forth a pervading influence, which may be made to spread itself through every portion of the space that he occupies, and be reiterated upon it at short intervals, and with successive applications. He, and the auxiliaries with whom he stands associated, may keep up an incessant locomotion among the families, and they will scarcely meet with one solitary exception in the way of a cordial and universal welcome. This is the way in which a local teacher recruits his school
out of families that felt no moving inclination whatever towards a general teacher ; and this, in effect, is the way in which a parochial clergyman, had he room and space for it, may reclaim to congregational habits, a whole multitude that have sat motionless for years, and grown most alarmingly in number, under all that churches and meeting-houses have yet done for them.
“ The ideas of rest, of stillness, and stagnancy, have long been associated with an establishment. But the truth is, that they are its facili: ties for a busy movement of circulation over a given space, which confer upon it, in our apprehension, a mighty superiority over a mere system of dissenterism. It is true, that the movement is; in a great measure, internal; and, for this reason, it does not bear ostensibly upon it the character of a Missionary enterprise. But, surely, a Missionary object is as much fulfilled by the movement that comprehends all who are within, as by the movement that extends to all who are without. The precept of.Go and preach the Gospel to every creature, includes an application to the outcasts at home, as well as to the outcasts abroad; and, on the very principle which inclines us to the frame-work of a Missionary Society, do we feel inclined to the frame-work of a national establishment." (P. 102, 103.)
The latter part of this chapter contains some statements, of which the object, is to give an idea, with regard to Glasgow, at least, of the extent of the mischiefs which it is proposed to remedy.
“Let it be premised, that, in a country parish, the number who should be in attendance upon church, is computed at one-half of the whole population. In towns where the obstacle of distance is not to be overcome, a larger proportion than this is generally fixed upon. We think it, however, overrated at two-thirds, and shall therefore assign the intermediate fraction of five-eighths, as the ratio which the church-going inhabitants of a town should bear to the total number of them."
6. The first result that we shall give, is the fruit of a large survey, made in one of the extreme districts of Glasgow, and comprehending a population of 10,304. The number of Sabbath-hearers ought, at the rate now specified, to have been 6240. The number of seats actually taken, in all the churches and meeting-houses put together, was only 2930. This survey becomes more instructive, when regarded in the separate portions of it. As it passes onward to the limits of the
royalty, where the people become poorer, and the space which they ocсиру
is in contact with that enormous parish, the Barony, whose population, by a recent survey, is found to be 51,861, the proportion of non-attendance becomes much greater. There are, along the line of separation between the city and the suburbs, contiguous populations of 377, 400, 500, 475, 469, and 468, where the numbers that ought to attend a place of worship, are 236, 250, 322, 297, 293, and 293, respectively; and where the sittings actually taken, which correspond to these numbers, are 76, 74, 131, 87, 103, and 113. Thus, in some instances, is it found, that the church-going population bear only the proportion of less than one-fifth to the whole, and than one-third to that part of
the whole, who would, in a well-ordered state of things, be in a regu. lar habit of attendance upon ordinances. It is remarkable, that in one of those spaces which comprised a population of 875, there were not above 4 individuals who had a sitting in an established church; so that, ' were it not for dissenters, who take up at least 148 out of the whole, and 38 in chapels of ease, there would have been a district of the city, with a larger population than is to be found in many of our country parishes, in a state nearly of entire Heathenism." (P. 109-111.)
“This survey was not carried beyond the limits of the Royalty; but we are sure, if it had, that all the results would have been aggravated. In a parish of upwards of 50,000 people, where one church,
and three subsidiary chapels, form the whole amount of accommodation provided by the establishment, we confidently aver, that not one-fifth of those who live in it, and not one-third of those who should have sittings, are in the habit of attendance upon any ordinances whatever ; and that this computation holds, after dissenterism has put forth all its resources, and it has been free to expatiate over every neighbourhood of human beings for several generations. Such is the tried inefficiency of its mechanism. It will never, of itself, do the work of an establishment, however essential it may be in a country, to stimulate and to supplement an establishment." (P. 111, 112.)
“ There are interior departments of population in Glasgow, where the amount of church-going is greatly less than all that we have yet specified. In that short street called the Goose-Dubbs, with the few lanes and closes which belong to it, there are 945 people, only 106 of whom have seats any where. The deficiency is as great in some of the sub-districts of the Saltmarket.* Dissenterism has done something for these families. It has done much more for them than the establishment has done, and yet but a humble fraction of what an establishment might do, and is best fitted to do." (P. 113.)
We have given these statements at full length, because they serve to show, how much there often remains to be done, where we are most apt to flatter ourselves that the greatest quantity of good is in progress. One difficulty in the way of attempts at usefulness, we think is answered very satisfactorily in the following passage.
“ It is felt by many as a deduction from the good of the local system in towns, that the poorer among the families so frequently change their places of residence; and that there must not only be the same parish, but also the same parishioners, else the acquaintanceship which is formed, will be constantly liable to be broken up, by the constant dispersion of its members. The quantity of fluctuation is greatly overrated. The district referred to in our last chapter, as having been asa
*“In one district of the Saltmarket, there are 387 people, and only 61 of them who have scats in any place of worship. In Clay-Braes, there are 6+ seats among 319 people. And in one continuous space of the Bridgegate, there are 209 people, anly 7 of whom have seats any where." VOL. XVI. NO, XXXI.