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weakness of the Church-its strength in that it insures the ministration of the Church everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the land; not merely in the great towns and near the residences of the rich, but equally in the wildest glen and on the bleakest hillside. While it has been a source of weakness in that, the public mind for generations rested satisfied with the provision once made, and heeded not the fact that what might have been sufficient 300 years ago, has gradually ceased to be adequate to the wants of the people, or able to take oversight of a population which has doubled and redoubled itself during that period. The greater attention paid to religion and the education of the people, and the increase in England of various communities dissenting from the Church, has served to set this fact more plainly before us during the last 30 or 40 years; and many statistical returns have been published giving painful evidence of the large amount of the population, who have grown up practically excluded from all access to the means of grace, and unprovided with pastoral care; since it was manifestly impossible with the thousands, and sometimes perhaps tens of thousands, who were nominally under the charge of a single Minister, that he could possibly be able, ready, as he might be, to spend and be spent for the Gospel, to have any personal intercourse with more than a fraction of them ;--nor if willing, was there any room for them in the parochial Churches. Neither have the exertions of other religious bodies been in any measure sufficient to supply the deficiency. In the middle ages, as we have seen, the Church sought the aid of the monasteries and religious communities, as then constituted. We do not want such in these days, as schools of learning, for we have provision made for that in a way more suitable to the present age; nor can we approve the manner in which the members of those religious orders bound themselves by vows; but still we want for the clergy some co-operation and help to enable the parochial system, especially amongst the masses of large towns, to cope with the enormous amount of evil and infidelity that has grown up around us. In England during the last 20 years 3,826 new churches have been built, including those which have replaced old ones; while in the same period so difficult has it been to provide the men, and the means of supporting them,
the clergy have increased only 411; the population, however, which before had far outrun the power of the clergy, has been still increasing at a fearful rate. Here, therefore, the evil has been met by no adequate remedy. And even in the matter of Churches, there are yet cases where the disproportion between the accommodation af forded and the number of the inhabitants is something quite appalling. For instance, in an appeal now making for aid towards the erection of Churches in London and its suburbs, the following statement is given :
Population. Church Room. Parish of Shoreditch,
.110,000 9,000 Stepney.
81,800 5,200 St. John, Clerkenwell.
10,000 800 Clerkenwell, rest of.
55,000 5,000 St. Botolph, Aldgate...
16,000 1,000 Poplar
30,000 1,700 Plumstead.
12,000 400 But in order to try and provide some remedy for the overwhelming evil which is now acknowleged on all hands, and to meet which in such cases the single services of the parochial clergyman, or it may be of two or three in any given district, are powerless, the Church, a few years since, adopted a regular system of Scripture Readers under the sanction and license of the Bishop of London and other Bishops; there are frequently, also, District Visitors employed by the clergy on a more or less systematic plan; and more recently we have, as I stated at the commencement, the establishment of The Church of England Young Men's Association for Aiding Missions at Home and Abroad." These are efforts made by the Church, or by some of her members, to aid and help her in the great work of her calling, and may become most useful and efficient agencies in connection with her regular ministry; and as such we, here as well as in England, may receive their co-operation with thankfulness, and endeavour to give permanency and efficiency, and a true ecclesiastical character to their labors. There are, however, two objects to be kept in view, I consider, in this your Association :—first, in that it offers opportunities of improvement and wholesome reereation to those who are members of it; and next, as furnishing an agency whereby you may yourselves be an instrument of good to others. As to the first, the very terms of the Association necessitate a more frequent personal intercourse with the clergy, which, in a large and populous city especially, and where almost all of you are busily engaged in your several callings, it is not easy to keep up on any systematic principle. Then
you have provided the present course of lectures for your improvement in the knowledge of ecclesiastical history, and the Bible Class, which, though, only at present attended by a certain number of you, has commenced, and will no doubt become more and more appreciated, as the good leaven works its way. Then, at a very trifling cost, you have the use of an excellent library, and a pleasant room, where you can pass your evenings, and associate with others, for the purpose either of recreation or study, instead of wasting your time, and means, and health, in haunts of vice and dissipation, as so many young men are led to do, merely for want of some better place to go to, or some inducement to employ themselves more usefully.
And, for the second object you are associated together for the purpose of being useful to others,—to induce other young men to join you, and partake in the advantages of your association ; and also by the help of your funds, as you get more established, to aid more directly in the work of missions, by providing the means of supporting one or more missionaries, to be employed in cultivating some of that spiritual waste that we see around us. If you enter, as I trust you will, heartily into the work, (and as your thus associating together is a purely voluntary act, I am bound to believe that is because your hearts are in it that you have done so,) there is an immense field of usefulness open before you; and especially in that species of usefulness which the earnest-minded among you may be able to exercise over other young men just entering into life, whom you will be thrown amongst in familiar intercourse, and associated with in business. They are a most important class in society, and often the most difficult for the clergyman to meet with, or to influence by direct appeal. I trust that, if God spare us to meet together after the conclusion of a year's experience of the working of the Association, we shall find that in this and other ways much good has been done. And that though not necessarily
a part of the Church's machinery, not essential to her being, yet we shall find that the effects are so beneficial, that it conduces so to the well-being of her work, that we shall almost recognise it as an inseparable adjunct. It is but a few years since that Sunday Schools were first introduced, and then were thought by many as unnecessary; now we look for them as being almost as indispensable as the congregation who assemble to worship in the church. Thus, too, as we saw in early times the monks and monasteries and hermits arose out of the pressing wants of the Church at that period, and being useful, were adopted, and, as it were, incorporated into her system; but when found to have become instruments of evil rather than good, they were set aside at the Reformation. May we ever keep in view the great end and objects of this Association, and remembering the principles upon which it has been established, seek earnestly for the accomplishment of its work—the welfare of the members, and, through their agency and co-operation with the Church, the furtherance of true religion and the extension of the Gospel Kingdom.
SOME REMARKS ON COLONIAL INSTITUTIONS,"
DELIVERED IN THE MECHANICS' HALL,
MEMBERS OF THE MECHANICS' INSTITUT E,
ON TUESDAY EVENING, THE 11TH OF DECEMBER, 1855.
HAVING been requested to give the first of this winter's course of lectures, in connection with this Institution, “ The Mechanics” Institute of Montreal,” I propose to endeavour to turn the occasion to some profitable account by making a few remarks on “ Colonial Institutions," and this amongst the number.
First, then, let me remind you that from the very expression, “Colonial Institutions," we have brought before us the connection with the Mother Country; and from the rapid and continual intercourse now kept up between England and Canada, from the constant immigration of fresh settlers, from the general circulation of news and information, respecting all that is going on in the Old Country,--and from the admiration with which so many of us regard England, and the success of her Institutions, it is but natural that we should wish to see many of them reproduced here, and adapted to our position, that they may be to us, what they have proved to her, elements of social usefulness, and means of political greatness. The consequence, however, is that when we have established amongst us such an Institution as this, or, " The Natural History Society," or "a University," or, to go still further, ".