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to care for all without distinction and without difference. So that while the dissenting minister is bound only by the terms of his engagement to the people who have chosen him over them, and his pastoral care is limited to them, the clergyman has no limit but that of his parish ; and within that parish the ignorant has a claim on his instruction, the sufferer on his sympathy and help, the afflicted on his pastoral visitation; even the infidel and the abandoned, who may have ranked themselves on the side of his bitterest enemies, have a right in the hour of their need to expect they shall not be overlooked by him ; and for all is he bound to pray and to watch as one that must give account. But then, brethren, the question naturally presents itself, as we survey our large and overgrown parishes, and their fearful disproportion of pastors--“Who is sufficient for these things—where is the flock that was given thee,” &c. This leads me to another point, to which I wish to draw your
attention, 2. The inadequacy of the present means of the Church to
meet the fearful responsibility which rests upon her.
So much has of late been said upon this subject, and much has already on the former part of this day been brought before you, that I will content myself with pointing out one or two facts. In England alone there is a population of upwards of 13,000,000, amongst whom there are pastorally engaged 14,000 clergymen; and yet observe, that for 9,500,000 of that number, there are but 2,300 clergymen, This unequal distribution arises on the one hand from the immense increase of large towns, and on the other from the vast number of small parishes, each of which, according to our parochial system, requires its own pastor. Now, brethren, if the ministrations of the pulpit are to be followed up by pastoral visitation-if the Gospel is to be preached, not in the pulpit only, but from house to house--if the young, especially, are to be privileged (and, O that it might be! will many a Christian parent's heart exclaim) to hear at their own fireside the truths reiterated they are accustomed to listen to from the pulpit, and thus a pastoral connection formed with the most hopeful of our charge—if the sick are to receive the attentions and consolation they so much require--if the neglecter of the great salvation, or the despiser of it, is to come within the sound of the warning voice-if, in a word, the pastor is to be what his very name implies, and what the Church's design is he should be, then I am sure you will agree, that 2,000 souls are quite as many as any single pastor ought to have the care over : and if this be allowed, then to approach this state of things, we should require, at this moment, the number I have before mentioned at once doubled, or 2,450 additional clergymen.
It may, however, be objected to this statement, that we have not taken into the account our Wesleyan brethren and the dissenters. We have not done so, because the supply furnished by them does not in the least remove the responsibility or lessen the duty of the church. It is to her, as the queen and consort of the state, the question forcibly applies—Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? We are not, however, blind to the good which has been done by others, and if Christ be preached, therein we rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; but even taking the aggregate of those who attend the services of our church and of all denominations, and what think you is the startling fact? Why that seven millions in our land, or more than one half of our countrymen, either cannot or will not visit any place of worship; nay, more, that if the adult population were disposed to visit the house of God, there is not accommodation probably in all the churches and chapels of every description put together for more than one half. And this is Protestant Christian England! Wonder we at the vice, drunkenness, sabbathbreaking, contempt of God, his ordinances, his ministers, yea, at the enormity of our national sins, over which decency blushes and humanity sheds her tear. O, England! my country, what can save thee, if the Lord be provoked to give thee up, and what but sin can ruin thee? But if thou goest on thus heedlessly to forget the God of all thy mercies, remember Canaan, Tyre, and Palestine. Call to mind the seven churches of Asia, which once were blessed even as thou. Think of the removal of their candlestick, and tremble for thyself!
brethren, shall this state of things continue ; continue--it cannot; it must either grow worse, or by God's blessing we must meet and arrest the evil. And this leads me in the third place to
3. The duty which devolves alike on all the members and ministers of the church.
With regard to this duty it is simple. We know who hath commanded us to feed the flock of Christ. Our duty, therefore, remains, whether our means be proportionate to the discharge of that duty as it ought to be. Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock ? So long as there is a wanderer unsought, the duty is unfulfilled. We trust, however, that what is her duty will, at no distant day, be within the compass of her ability: Bright prospects are opening before her; restrictions which injuriously prevented the increase of her temples have been removed; churches are increasing, ministers are multiplying, God is blessing her; and, among the tokens for good, I own I look with peculiar delight to the Society whose cause has been this day brought before you—the Church Pastoral Aid Society,-a society which has sprung up within her, and uniting ihe energies, talent, influence, and wealth of her children, is consecrating them to the service and glory of God our Saviour.-A society, I believe, so far as any thing human can be, faultless—which is in strict accordance with the discipline and government of the Church of England, - which has at its head some of the bishops, and whose single object is to aid in providing additional pastors, or laymen, as the case may require and the incumbent may
wish for, to extend the means of grace, and thus increase the spiritual efficiency of the church. Would to God that some such agency had existed long ago ! But, alas ! for our church ! she hath too long slumbered at her post. It is faithfulness and friendship to her to confess this. Had she acted out the principles of the Reformation,—had the spirit that kindled in her Latimers, her Ridleys, her Cranmers, kept alive upon her altars, we should not have been in the state in which we now are. So far from hearing the unnatural cry from her children, down with her, down with her, even to the ground, we should scarce have had a single wanderer from her fold, while all would have rejoiced beneath her fostering wing. But then we mention this, not that you should dwell with fruitless regret on the past, but to animate you to present duty and to warn you for the future. We live in brighter and better days. The Society whose cause I am desirous to advocate opens to us a new era.
You will be gratified
to learn that since its commencement, being little more than eighteen months, it has received upwards of £10,000. that it has made grants to the amount of £5,400 per annum to about 90 clergymen having the charge of 602,000 souls, to enable them to obtain additional assistance, the aggregate income of whose benefices was only £12,700, giving an average of 7,500 souls at £160 each.
These grants have provided eighty-four additional clergymen, and twelve lay assistants (some graduates); the lay assistants having limited duties, similar to district visitors or Scripture readers, and being entirely under direction and control of the clergy, to whom they are responsible and under engagement. And the happy consequence has been, that additional services have been opened in churches and licensed school rooms, in remote and destitute parts of parishes; and, in some instances, these grants have occasioned the erection of chapels. Nor would I omit to mention, what I consider of prime importance, that while the Society leaves the nomination, where it ought to be left, with the clergyman applying for assistance, yet it requires the additional labourers thus sent forth into the vineyard should be, as far as one man can judge of another, and testimonials certify, spirituallyminded men, possessing the qualifications which the Church require, such as alone can meet the necessities of the nation, men whom the Holy Spirit hath called and set apart, and prepared by his own teaching, that they may be able to teach others also. This is the simple statement of facts, but, brethren, remember what immense funds will be required to keep up and increase the operation of such a machinery as this; and, consequently, when I tell you that the Society has already voted more than £5,000, which will require annual renewal, I am sure it will meet with your warmest and best support by annual subscriptions. I have a proposal to make to my own dear flock. There are amongst us many whom the Lord has blessed temporally and spiritually. It would be an easy thing for the congregation of St. Peter's, unitedly, to support one ambassador of Christ, who might proclaim the words of everlasting life in the midst of some dense benighted mass of our countrymen, at present perishing for lack of knowledge. And I know nothing that could be more strengthening to your own pastor in his public ministrations, or more joyous to the congregation, than the reflection, that God hath honoured us to be instrumental in adding, so to speak, another temple to be vocal with his praise. Freely, then, brethren, ye have received, freely give.
[The Rev. Preacher here forcibly illustrated the utility of the Society, by referring to the necessities of the chapelry to which he had himself been first ordained curate, the population 17,000, income £170, and to which the Parochial Aid Society has sent an additional clergyman.]
I will not say a word, then, as to what you may be constrained to give when the service is over. I trust the impression will not be momentary, but that you will devise some plan by which, as a congregation, you may support one faithful pastor; and thus, in some measure, diminish the existing evil. And as Sabbath will return after Sabbath, and we shall assemble within these walls to pray and to praise, who can tell whether that Saviour who hath promised that the cup of cold water shall in nowise lose its reward, may not remember this for good, and command the windows of heaven to be opened, and rain down blessings on our head. To
encourage and animate you to this duty I remark, in the last place,
4. That the prosperity of our Zion, in the fulfilment of her solemn responsibility, is inseparably connected with the nation's welfare and the world's blessedness.
Let us picture to ourselves a resident pastor after God's own heart, amid a population of 2,000 souls; let us contemplate the blessed results of the preaching of the cross, the charities which grow upon the soil of the Gospel, and beautify the place of the sanctuary; and which, to use the language of Scripture, transforms the moral wilderness into the garden of the Lord. Let us compare such a place with a district uncultivated by the ploughshare of the Gospel, from whence spreads a moral contagion around, and the receptacles of crime become peopled with their wretched inmates, whose lips blaspheme instead of praise. And shall we not then say, that the prosperity of Zion is a subject devoutly to be desired.
Think also of the blessing to the Church itself. Then, instead of its numbers being so few, they would be increased to a mighty multitude. Instead of such slumber