There is no Sunday school in connection with St. George's. In some respects this may be a disadvantage to the neighbourhood; but it is a source of comfort to the congregation, for all the noise which irrepressible children create during service hours at every place where they are penned up, is obviated. Neither children nor babes are seen at St. George's. It is considered they are best at home, and that they ought to stay there until the second teeth have been fairly cut. The congregation of St. George's is specifically fashionable. A few poor people may be seen on low seats in the centre aisle; but the great majority of worshippers either represent, or are connected with, what are termed "good families." Young ladies wearing on just one hair the latest of bonnets, and elaborated with costly silks and ribbons; tender gentlemen of the silver-headed cane school and the "my deah fellah" region; quiet substantial looking men of advanced years, who believe in good breeding and properly brushed clothes; elderly matrons, "awfully spiff" as Lady Wortley Montague would say; and a few well-disposed tradespeople who judiciously mingle piety with business, and never make startling noises during their devotional moments—these make up the congregational elements of St. George's. They may be described in three words—few, serene, select. And this seems to have always been the case. Years since, the historian of Lancashire said that St. George's "has at all times had a respectable, though not a very numerous, congregation." The definition is as correct now as it was then. The worshippers move in high spheres; the bulk of them toil not, neither do they spin; and if they can afford it they are quite justified in making life genteel and easy, and giving instructions for other people to wait upon them. We dare say that if their piety is not as rampant, it is quite as good, as that of other people. Vehemence is not an indication of excellence, and people may be good without either giving way to solemn war-whoops or damaging the hearing faculties of their neighbours. Considering the situation of St. George's Church—its proximity to Friargate and the unhallowed passages running therefrom—there ought to be a better congregation. Churches like beefsteaks are intended to benefit those around them. It is not healthy for a church to have a congregation too select and too fashionable. Souls are of more value than either purses or clothes. More of the people living in the immediate neighbourhood of St. George's ought to regularly visit it; very few of them ever go near the place; but the fault may be their own, and neither the parson's, nor the beadle's.
The choir of St. George's is a wonderfully good one, and whether the members sing for love or money, or both, they deserve praise. Their melody is fine; their precision good; their expression excellent. They can give you a solemn piece with true abbandonatamente; they can observe an accelerando with becoming taste; they can get into a vigorosamente humour potently and on the shortest notice. They will never be able to knock down masonry with their musical force like the Jericho trumpeters, nor build up walls with their harmony like Amphion; but they will always possess ability to sing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, and whatever may be contained in popular music books, with taste and commendable exactitude. We recommend them to the favourable consideration of the public. In St. George's Church there is an organ which may be placed in the "h c" category. It is a splendid instrument—can't be equalled in this part of the country for either finery or music—and is played by a gentleman whose name ranks in St. George's anthem book, with those of Beethoven, Handel, and Mozart. We have heard excellent music sung and played at St. George's; but matters would be improved if the efforts of the choir were seconded. At present the singers have some time been what we must term, for want of a better phrase, musical performers. They are tremendously ahead of the congregation. Much of what they sing cannot be joined in by the people. Many a time the congregation have to look on and listen—ecstacised with what is being sung, wondering what is coming next, and delightfully bewildered as to the whole affair.
The minister at St. George's is the Rev. C. H. Wood—a quiet, homely, well-built man, who is neither too finely dressed nor too well paid. His salary is considerably under 200 pounds a year. Mr. Wood is frank and unostentatious in manner; candid and calm in language; and of a temperament so even that he gets into hot water with nobody. You will never catch him with his virtuous blood up, theologically or politically. He has a cool head and a quiet tongue- -two excellent articles for general wear which three-fourths of the parsons in this country have not yet heard of. He is well liked by the male portion of his congregation, and is on excellent terms with the fair sex. He is a batchelor, but that is his own fault. He could be married any day, but prefers being his own master. He may have an ideal like Dante, or a love phantom like Tasso, or an Imogene like the brave Alonzo; but he has published neither poetry nor prose on the subject yet, and has made no allusion to the matter in any of his sermons. No minister in Preston, with similar means, is more charitably disposed than Mr. Wood. He behaves well to poor people, and the virtue of that is worth more than the lugubriousness or eloquence of many homilies. Charity in purse as well as in speech is one of his characteristics; and if that doth not cover a multitude of ordinary defects nothing will. In the reading desk Mr Wood gets through his work quickly and with a good voice. There is no effort at elocution in his expression: he goes right on with the business, and if people miss the force of it they will have to be responsible for the consequences. In the pulpit he drives forward in the same earnest, matter-of-fact style. There is no hand flinging, hair- wringing, or dramatic raging in his style. The matter of his sermons is orthodox and homely—systematically arranged, innocently illustrated at intervals, and offensive to nobody. His manner is calculated to genially persuade rather than fiercely arouse; and it will sooner rock you to sleep than lash you to tears. There is a slight touch of sanctity at the end of his sentences—a mild elevation of voice indicative of pious oiliness; but, altogether, we like his quiet, straightforward, simple, English style. People fond of Church of England ideas could not have a more genial place of worship than St. George's: the seats are easy and well lined, the sermons short and placid, and the company good.
ST. AUGUSTINE'S CATHOLIC CHURCH.
St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Preston, is of a retiring disposition; it occupies a very southern position; is neither in the town nor out of it; and unlike many sacred edifices is more than 50 yards from either a public-house or a beershop. Clean-looking dwellings immediately confront it; green fields take up the background; an air of quietude, half pastoral, half genteel, pervades it; but this ecclesiastical rose has its thorn. Only in its proximate surroundings is the place semi-rural and select. As the circle widens—townwards at any rate—you soon get into a region of murky houses, ragged children, running beer jugs, poverty; and as you move onwards, in certain directions, the plot thickens, until you get into the very lairs of ignorance, depravity, and misery. St. Augustine's "district" is a very large one; it embraces 8,000 or 9,000 persons, and their characters, like their faces, are of every colour and size. Much honest industry, much straight-forwardness and every day kindness, much that smells of gin, and rascality, and heathenism may be seen in the district. There is plenty of room for all kinds of reformers in the locality; and if any man can do any good in it, whatever may be his creed or theory, let him do it. The priests in connection with St. Augustine's Catholic Church are doing their share in this matter, and it is about them, their church, and their congregation that we have now a few words to say. The church we name is not a very old one. It was formally projected in 1836; the first stone of it was laid on the 13th of November, 1838; and it was opened on the 30th of July, 1840, by Dr. Briggs, afterwards first bishop of the Catholic diocese of Beverley. It has a plain yet rather stately exterior. Nothing fanciful, nor tinselled, nor masonically smart characterises it. Four large stone pillars, flanked with walls of the same material surmounted with brick, a flight of steps, a portico, a broad gable with massive coping, and a central ornament at the angle, are all which the facade presents. The doors are lateral, and are left open from morning till night three hundred and sixty-five days every year.
The interior of the church is spacious, wonderfully clean, and decorated at the high altar end in most tasteful style. We have not inquired whether charity begins at home or not in this place; perhaps it does not; but it is certain that painting does; for all the fine colouring, with its many formed classical devices, at the sanctuary was executed by one of the members of the congregation. The principal altar is a very fine one, and a fair amount of pious pleasure may be derived from looking at a tremendous pastoral candlestick which stands on one side. It is, when charged with a full-sized candle, perhaps five feet ten high, and it has a very patriarchal and decorous appearance—looks grave and authoritative, and seems to think itself a very important affair. And it has a perfect right to its opinion. We should like to see it in a procession, with Zaccheus, the sacristian, carrying it. Three fine paintings, which however seem to have lost their colour somewhat, are placed in the particular part of the church we are now at. The central one represents the "Adoration of the Magi," and was painted and given by Mr. H. Taylor Bulmer, who formerly resided in Preston. The second picture to the left is a representation of "Christ's agony in the Garden;" and the third on the opposite side is "Christ carrying the Cross." In front of the altar there is the usual lamp with a crimson spirit flame, burning day and night, and reminding one of the old vestal light, watched by Roman virgins, who were whipped in the dark by a wrathful pontifex if they ever let it go out. At the northern end of the church there is a large gallery, with one of the neatest artistic designs in front of it we ever saw. The side walls are surmounted with a chaste frieze, and running towards the base are "stations" and statues of saints. A small altar within a screen, surmounted with statuary, is placed on each side of the sanctuary, and not far from one of them there is a bright painting which looks well at a distance, but nothing extra two yards off. It represents Christ preaching out of a boat to some Galileans, amongst whom may be seen the Rev. Canon Walker. If the painting is correct, the worthy canon has deteriorated none by age, for he seems to look just as like himself now as he did eighteen hundred years since, and to be not a morsel fonder of spectacles and good snuff now than he was then. His insertion, however, into this picture, was a whim of the artist, whose cosmopolitan theory led him to believe that one man is, as a rule, quite as good as another, and that paintings are always appreciated best when they refer to people whom you know.
There are three of those very terrible places called confessionals at St. Augustine's, and one day not so long since we visited all of them. It is enough for an ordinary sinner to patronise one confessional in a week, or a month, or a quarter of a year, and then go home and try to behave himself. But we went to three in one forenoon with a priest, afterwards had the courage to get into the very centre of a neighbouring building wherein were two and twenty nuns, and then reciprocated compliments with an amiable young lady called the "Mother Superior." Terrible places to enter, and most unworldly people to visit, we fancy some of our Protestant friends will say; but we saw nothing very agonising or dreadful—not even in the confessionals. Like other folk we had heard grim tales about, such places—about trap doors, whips, manacles, and all sorts of cruel oddities; but in the confessionals visited we beheld nothing of any of them. Number one is a very small apartment, perhaps two yards square, with a seat and a couple of sacred pictures in it. In front there is an aperture filled in with a slender grating and backed by a curtain which can be removed at pleasure by the priest who officiates behind. On one side of the grating there is a small space like a letter-box slip, and through this communications in writing, of various dimensions, are handed. Everything is plain and simple where the penitent is located; and the apartment behind, occupied by the priest who hears confession, is equally simple. There is no weird paraphernalia, no mysterious contrivances, no bolts, bars, pullies, or strings for either working miracles, or making the hair of sinners stand on end. Number two confessional is similarly arranged and equally plain. We examined this rather more minutely than the other, and whilst we could find nothing dreadful in the penitents' apartment, we fancied, on entering the priest's side, that, we had met with something belonging the realm of confessional torture as depicted by the Hogans, Murphys, and Maria Monk showmen, and which the officials had forgot to put by in some of their secret drawers. It was hung upon a nail, had a semi- circular, half viperish look, and was cupped at each end as if intended for some curious business of incision or absorption. We were relieved on getting nearer it and on being informed that it was merely an ear trumpet through which questions have to be put to deaf penitents who now and then turn up for general unravelment and absolution. The two confessionals described are contiguous to a passage at the rear of the church; the third we are now coming to is near one of the subsidiary altars, nod looks specifically snug. It is a particularly small confessional, and a very stout penitent would find it as difficult to get into it as to reveal all his sins afterwards. There is nothing either harrowing or cabalistic in the place; and you can see nothing but two forms, a screen, and a crucifix.
There are many services at St. Augustine's. On Monday mornings at a quarter past seven, and again at half-past eight, mass is said; on Tuesdays and Thursdays there is benediction at half-past seven; on Fridays and Saturdays and on the eve of holidays there is confession; on Sundays there is mass at half-past seven, half-past eight, half-past nine, and at 11, when regular service takes place; on Sunday afternoons, at three, the children are instructed, and at half-past six in the evening there are vespers, a sermon, and benediction. The church has a capacity for about 1,000 persons, without crushing. The average number hearing mass on a Sunday is 3,290. On four consecutive Sundays recently—from February 14 to March 14—upwards of 13,100 heard mass within the walls of the church.
The congregation is almost entirely made up of working people. A few middle class and wealthy persons attend the place—some sitting in the gallery, and others at the higher end of the church—but the general body consists of toiling every-day folk. The poorest section, including the Irish—who, in every Catholic Church, do a great stroke of business on a Sunday with holy water, beads and crucifixes—are located in the rear. It is a source of sacred pleasure to quietly watch some of these poor yet curious beings. They are all amazingly in earnest while the fit is on them; they bow, and kneel, and make hand motions with a dexterity which nothing but long years of practice could ensure; and they drive on with their prayers in a style which, whatever may be the character of its sincerity, has certainly the merit of fastness. How to get through the greatest number of words in the shortest possible time may be a problem which they are trying, to solve. The great bulk of the congregation are calm and unostentatious, evincing a quiet demeanour in conjunction with a determined devotion. There are several very excellent sleepers in the multitude of worshippers; but they are mainly at the entrance end where they are least seen. We happened to be at the church the other Sunday morning and in ten minutes after the sermon had been commenced about 16 persons, all within a moderate space, were fast asleep. Their number increased slowly till the conclusion. Several appeared to be struggling very severely against the Morphean deity dining the whole service; a few might be seen at intervals rescuing themselves from his grasp—getting upon the very edge of a snooze, starting suddenly with a shake and waking up, dropping down their heads to a certain point of calmness and then retracing their steps to consciousness.
There are five men at St. Augustine's called collectors—parties who show strangers, &c., their seats, and look after the pennies which attendants have to pay on taking them. Not one of these collectors has officiated less than 11 years; three of them have been at the work for 27; and what is still better they discharge their duties, as the sacristan once told us, "free gracious." That is a philanthropic wrinkle for chapel keepers and other compounders of business and piety which we commend to special notice. The singers at St. Augustine's are of more than ordinary merit. Two or three of them have most excellent voices; and the conjoint efforts of the body are in many respects capital. Their reading is accurate, their time good, and their melody frequently constitutes a treat which would do a power of good to those who hear the vocalisation of many ordinary psalm-singers whose great object through life is to kill old tunes and inflict grevious bodily harm upon new ones. There is a very good organ at St. Augustine's, and it is blown well and played well.
Usually there are three priests at the mission; but on our visit there were only two—the Rev. Canon Walker, and the Rev. J. Hawkesworth; and if you had to travel from the lowest point in Cornwall to the farthest house in Caithness you wouldn't find two more kindly men. We Protestants talk volubly about the grim, grinding character of priests, about their tyrannous influence, and their sinister sacerdotalism; but there is a good deal of extra colouring matter in the picture. Whatever their religion may be, and however much we may differ from it, this at least we have always found amongst priests—excellent education, amazing devotion to duty, gentlemanly behaviour, and in social life much geniality. They have studied all subjects; they know something about everything; their profession necessarily makes them acquainted with each phase and feeling of life. The Rev. Canon Walker is a good type of a thoroughly English priest and of a genuine Lancashire man. He is unassuming, obliging in manner, careful in his duties, fonder of a good pinch of snuff than of warring about creeds, much more in love with a quiet chat than of platform violence, and would far sooner offer you a glass of wine, and ask you to take another when you had done it, than fight with you about piety. He is a man of peace, of homely, disposition, of kindly thought, unobtrusive in style, sincere in action, with nothing bombastic in his nature, and nothing self-righteous in his speech. His sermons are neither profound nor simple—they are made up of fair medium material; and are discharged rapidly. There is no effort at rhetorical flourish in his style; a simple lifting of the right hand, with an easy swaying motion, is all the "action" you perceive. Canon Walker speaks with a rapidity seldom noticed. Average talkers can get through about 120 words in a minute; Canon Walker can manage 200 nicely, and show no signs of being out of breath.
The Rev. Mr. Hawkesworth—a bright-eyed, rubicund-featured gentleman, with a slight disposition to corporeal rotundity—is the second priest. He is a sharp, kindly-humoured gentleman, and does not appear to have suffered in either mind or body by a four years residence in Rome. Mr. Hawkesworth is a practical priest, a good singer, and a hard worker. He resides with Canon Walker in a spacious house adjoining St. Augustine's. No unusual sounds have ever been heard to proceed from the residence, and it may fairly be inferred that they dwell together to harmony. The house is substantially furnished. The library within it is not very large, but what it lacks in bulk is made up for by variety. Its contents range from the Clockmaker of Sam Slick to the Imitation of Thomas a Kempis, from Little Dorrit to the Greek Lexicon. Not far from St. Augustine's Church there is a convent. It is the old Larkhill mansion transmuted, and is one of the most pleasantly situated houses in this locality. In front of it you have flowers of delicious hues, shrubs of every kind, grassy undulations, rare old shady trees, a small artificial lake, a fountain—shall we go on piling up the agony of beauty until we reach a Claude Melnotte altitude? It is unnecessary; all we need add is this—that the grounds are a lovely picture, delightfully formed, and most snugly set. The convent is a large, clean, airy establishment. The entrance hall is handsome; some of the apartments are choicely furnished, the walls being decorated with pictures, &c., made by either the nuns or their pupils. The convent includes apartments for the reception of visitors, a small chapel, with deeply-toned light, and exquisitely arranged; dining rooms, sitting rooms, two or three school rooms, lavatories, sculleries, dormitories, and a gigantic kitchen, reminding one of olden houses wherein were vast open fire-places, massive spits, and every apparatus for making meat palateable and life enjoyable. The 22 nuns before referred to live at this convent. They belong to the order of "Faithful Companions;" they lead quiet, industrious lives—have no Saurin-Starr difficulties, and appear to be contented.
At the convent there are 33 pupils—some from a distance, others belonging the town. They are taught every accomplishment; look very healthy; and, when we saw them, seemed not only comfortable but merry. Near the convent there is a commodious girls' and infants' school connected with St. Augustine's, the general average attendance being about 240. In Vauxhall-road there is another large, excellently built school belonging to the same Church, and set apart for boys. The attendance is not very numerous. At both there is room for many more scholars, and if religious bigotry did not operate in some quarters, and prevent Catholic children going to those schools recognising the principles of their own faith, the attendance at each would be much better than it is. Taking the district in its entirety, it is industriously worked by the Catholics. They deserve praise for their energy. Their object is to push on Catholicism and improve the secular position of the inhabitants, and they do this with a zeal most praiseworthy. This finishes our Augustinian mission.
QUAKERS' MEETING HOUSE.
I love Quaker ways and Quaker worship. I venerate the Quaker principles. It does me good for the rest of the day when I meet any of their people in my path. When I am ruled or disturbed by any occurrence, the sight or quiet voice of a Quaker acts upon me as a ventilator, lightening the air, and taking off a load from the bosom; but I cannot like the Quakers, as Desdemona would say, "to live with them."—Charles Lamb.
Sheep, leather, and religion were the principal things which George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, looked after. In boyhood he was a shepherd, in youth a shoemaker, in manhood an expounder of Christianity. No one could have had a series of occupations more comprehensive or practical. The history of the world proves that it is as important for men to look after their mutton as to "save their bacon;" that, after all, "there is nothing like leather;" and that there can be nothing better than religion. 219 years since the ancestors of those who now follow the "inner light" were termed Quakers. An English judge—Gervaise Bennet—gave them this name at Derby, and it is said that he did so because Fox "bid them quake at the word of the Lord." Theologically, Quakers are a peculiar people; they believe in neither rites nor ceremonies, in neither prayer- books nor hymn-books, in neither lesson reading, nor pulpit homilies, nor sacraments. They are guided by their spiritual feelings, and have a strong idea that a man has no right to open his mouth when he has got nothing to say, and that he should avoid keeping it shut when he has something worth uttering.
This is an excellent plan, and the world would be considerably benefited if it were universally observed both in religion and every-day life. Creation is killed and done for daily through an everlasting torrent of meaningless talk. Compact and quiet as it may appear, Quakerism has had its schisms and internal feuds. Early in this century, the White Quakers, who dressed themselves in light suits when outside and didn't dress at all—stripped themselves after the manner of Adamites—when within doors, created much furore in Ireland. About 30 years since, the Hicksite Quakers, who denied the divinity of Christ and the authority of the Bible, made their advent; afterwards the Beaconite Quakers put in an appearance; and then came the Wilburites. Taking all sections into account, there are at present about 130,000 Quakers in the world, and Preston contributes just seventy genuine ones to their number. In this locality they remain unchanged. Today they are neither smaller nor larger, numerically, than they were thirty years age. In the early days of local Quakerism, the country rather than the town was its favourite situation. Newton, Freckleton, Rawcliffe, and Chipping contained respectively at one time many more Quakers than Preston, but the old stations were gradually broken up, and Preston eventually got the majority of their members. A building located somewhere between Everton-gardens and Spring-gardens was first used as a meeting-house by them. In 1784 a better place was erected by the Friends, on a piece of land contiguous to and on the north side of Friargate; and in 1847 it was rebuilt. Although no one was officially engaged to map out the place, a good deal of learned architectural gas was disengaged in its design and construction. It was made three times larger than its congregational requirements— the object being to accommodate those who might assemble at the periodical district meetings. Special attention was also paid to the loftiness of the building—to the height of its ceiling. One or two of the amateur designers having a finger in the architectural pie had serious notions as to the importance of air space. They had studied the influence of oxygen and hydrogen, of nitrogen and carbonic acid gas; they had read in scientific books that every human being requires so many feet of breathing room; and after deciding upon the number of worshippers which the meeting-house should accommodate, they agreed to elevate its ceiling in the ratio of their inspiring and expiring necessities. This was a very good, salutary, Quakerly idea, and although it may have operated against the internal appearance of the building it has guaranteed purity of air to those attending it.
The meeting house is a quiet, secluded, well-made place; but it has a poor entrance, which you would fancy led to nowhere. A stranger passing along Friargate on an ordinary day, would never find the Quakers' meeting house. He might notice at a certain point on the north-eastern side of that undulating and bustling public thoroughfare a grey looking gable, having a three-light-window towards the head, with a large door below, and at its base two washing pots and a long butter mug, belonging to an industrious earthenware dealer next door; but he would never fancy that the disciples of George Fox had a front entrance there to their meeting house. Yet after passing through a dim broad passage here, and mounting half a dozen substantial steps, you see a square, neat- looking, five-windowed building, and this is the Quakers' meeting house.
Over the passage there is a pretty large room, which is used by the Friends for Sunday school purposes. The attendance at this school on ordinary occasions is about 60; at special periods it is considerably more. During the cotton famine, a few years ago, when the Quakers were manifesting their proverbial charity—giving money, food, and clothing—the attendance averaged 160; and if it was known that they were going to give something extra tomorrow it would reach that point again. Speaking of the charity of Quakers, it may not be amiss to state that they keep all their own poor—do not allow any one belonging their society ever to solicit aid from the parish, or migrate in the dark hour of poverty to the workhouse. Reverting to the meeting-house, we may observe that just within its front door particular provision has been made for umbrellas. There is a long, low stand, with a channel below it, and this will afford ample accomodation for about 160 umbrellas. Taking into account the average attendance at the meeting-house, we have come to the serious conclusion that if every member carried two umbrellas on wet Sundays, the said umbrellas could be legitimately provided for. It is not a pleasant thing for a man to carry a couple of umbrellas, and we believe it has been found very difficult for any one to put up and use two at the same time; still it is satisfactory to know that if ever the Friends of Preston decide upon such a course, there will be plenty of provision for their umbrellas at the meeting house.
The inside of the general building is severely plain. There is no decoration of any description about it, and if the gas pipes running along the side walls had not a slight Hogarthian line of beauty touch in their form, everything would look absolutely horizontal and perpendicular. The seats are plain and strong with open backs. A few of them have got green cushions running the whole length of the form. In some small cushions are dotted down here and there for individual worshippers, who can at any time easily take them up, put them under their arm, and move from one place to another if they wish for a change of location. Over the front entrance there is a gallery, but ordinarily it is empty. There is no pulpit in the house, and no description of books—neither bibles, nor hymn-books, nor prayer-books—can be seen anywhere. At the head of the place there is an elevated strongly-fronted bench, running from one side to the other, and below it an open form of similar length. The more matured Quakers and Quakeresses generally gravitate hitherwards. The males have separate places and so have the females. It is expected that the former will always direct their steps to the seats on the right-hand side; that the latter will occupy those on the left; and, generally, you find them on opposite sides in strict accordance with this idea. There is nothing to absolutely prevent an enraptured swain from sitting at the elbow of his love, and basking in the sunlight of her eyes, nor to stop an elderly man from nestling peacefully under the wing of his spouse; but it is understood that they will not do this, and will at least submit to a deed of separation during hours of worship. In addition to the 70 actual members of the society there are about 60 persons in Preston who pay a sort of nominal homage at the shrine of George Fox.
They have two meetings every Sunday, morning and evening, and one every Thursday—at half-past ten in the morning during winter months, and at seven in the evening in summer. The average attendance at each of the Sunday meetings is about 70. The character of the services is quite unsettled. Throughout Christendom the rule in religious edifices is to have a preliminary service, and then a discourse; in Quaker meeting houses there is no such defined course of action. Sometimes there is a prayer, then another, then an "exhortation"—Quakers have no sermons; at other times an exhortation without any prayer; now and then a prayer without any exhortation; and occasionally they have neither the one nor the other—they fall into a state of profound silence, keep astonishingly quiet ever so long, with their eyes shut, and then walk out. This is called silent meditation. If a pin drops whilst this is going on you can hear it and tell in which part of the house it is lying. You can feel the quietude, see the stillness; it is "tranquil and herd-like—as in the pasture—'forty feeding like one;'" it is sadly serene, placidly mysterous, like the "uncommunicating muteness of fishes;" and you wonder how it is kept up. To those who believe in solemn reticence—in motionless communion with the "inner light,"—there is nothing curious in this; it is, in fact, often a source of high spiritual ecstacy; but to an unitiated spectator the business looks seriously funny, and its continuance for any length of time causes the mind of such a one to run in all kinds of dreadfully ludicrous grooves.
Quakers don't believe in singing, and have no faith in sacred music of any kind. Neither the harp, nor the sackbut, nor the psaltery, nor the dulcimer will they have; neither organs nor bass fiddles will they countenance; neither vocalists nor instrumentalists, nor tune forks of any size or weight, will they patronise. They permit one another to enter and remain in their meeting house with the hat on or off, and with the hands either in the pockets or out of them. They have no regular ministers, and allow either men or women to speak. None, except Quakers and Ranters—the two most extreme sections of the religious community, so far as quietude and noise are concerned—permit this; and it is a good thing for the world that the system is not extended beyond their circles. If women were allowed to speak at some places of worship they would all be talking at once—all be growing eloquent, voluble, and strong minded in two minutes—and an articulative mystification, much more chaotic than that which once took place at Babel, would ensue. At the meeting house in Friargate it is taken for granted that on Sundays the morning service lasts for an hour and a half, and the evening one an hour and a quarter; but practically the time is regulated by the feelings of the worshippers—they come and go as they are "moved," and that is a liberal sort of measure harmonising well with human nature and its varied requirements.
We have paid more than one visit to this meeting house. The other Sunday evening we were there. The congregation at that time numbered just thirty-two—fifteen men, twelve women, two boys, and three girls. This was rather a small assemblage for a place which will hold between 500 and 600 persons; but it might be gratifying to the shades of its chemistry-loving, cubic-feet-of-air-admiring designers, for they would at any rate have the lively satisfaction of knowing that none of the famous 32 would suffer through want of breathing space. The members of the congregation came in at various times; four were there at half-past six; the remainder had got safely seated, in every instance, by ten minutes to seven. All the males made their appearance with their hats on; some pulled them off the moment they got seated; two or three seemed to get their convictions gradually intensified on the subject, and in about ten minutes came to the conclusion that they could do without their hats; some who had cast aside their castors at an early period reinstated them; whilst odd ones kept on their head coverings during the entire meeting. For 45 minutes, not the least effort in any lingual direction was made; no one said a word for three-quarters of an hour. There was a good deal of stirring on the forms, and creaking sounds were periodically heard; the whole indicating that the sitting posture had become uneasy, and that the paint, through warmth, had got tenacious. There was, however, neither talking nor whispering indulged in. The elderly Quakers, with their broad- brimmed, substantial hats, and white neckcloths, kept their eyes closed for a season, then opened them and looked ahead pensively, then shut them serenely again,—just
As men of inward light are wont To turn their optics to upon 't.
The Quakeresses on the other side followed a similar programme. We saw only three of them in the olden dress—only three with narrow- barrelled high crowned bonnets, made of brown silk and garnished with white silk strings. The younger branches of Quakerdom seemed more conventional than their ancestors in general dress. There was a slight dash of antiquity in their style; but their hats and bonnets, their coats and shawls had evidently been made for ornament as well as use. Originally Quakers were peculiarly stringent in respect to the plainness of their clothes; what they wore was always good, always made out of something which could not be beaten for its excellence of quality; but it was always simple, always out of the line of shoddy and bespanglement. But Quakerism is neither immaculate nor invincible; time is changing its simplicity, its quaint old fashioned solidity of dress; "civilisation" is quietly eating away its rigidity; and the day is coming when Quakerism will don the same suit as the rest of the world. For the first ten minutes we were in the chapel silence was not to us so much of a singularity; but when the Town Hall clock struck seven, when the machinery in the dim steeple of Trinity Church, which adjoins, gave a slow confirmation of it, and when all the little clocks in the neighbouring houses—for you could hear them on account of the general silence—chirped out sharply the same thing, one began to feel dubious and mystified. But the Quakers took all quietly, and even the children present sat still. The chime of another hour quarter came in due order; still there was no sign of action. Two minutes afterwards, an elderly gentleman, whose eyes had been kept close during the greater part of the time which had passed, suddenly leaned forward; the "congregation" followed his example in a crack, and for ten minutes they prayed, the elderly gentleman leading the way in a rather high-keyed voice, which he singularly modulated. But there was not much of "the old Foxian orgasm" manifested by him; he was serene, did not shake, was not agonised. He finished as he began without any warning; the general assemblage was seated in a second; and for seven minutes there was another reign of taciturnity. When that time had elapsed the same elderly party gave an exhortation, simple in language, kindly in tone, and free from both bewilderment and fierceness. Mr. Jesper—the person to whom we have been alluding—is one of the principal speakers at this meeting house. His colleague in talking is Mrs. Abbatt, a very worthy lady, who has often the afflatus upon her, and who can hold forth with a good deal of earnestness and perspicuity. Although Mr. Jesper and Mrs. Abbatt do the greatest portion of the talking and praying, others break through the ring fence of Quakerdom's silence periodically. One little gentleman has often small outbursts; but he is not very exhilerating. All the "members" attending the meeting house are very decorous, respectable, middle-class people—substantial well-pursed folk, who can afford to be independent, and take life easily—men and women who dislike shoddy and cant as much as they condemn spangles and lackered gentility.
The aggregate of the people connected with the place are calm, steady-going beings. We have a large respect for Quakerism. Its professors are made of strong, enduring, practical metal. They never neglect business for religion, nor religion for business. They believe in paying their way and in being paid; in moral rectitude and yard wands not the millionth part of an inch too long; in yea and nay; in good trade, good purses, good clothes, and good language; in clear-headed, cool calculations; in cash, discounts, sobriety, and clean shirts; in calmness and close bargain driving; in getting as much as they can, in sticking to it a long while, and yet in behaving well to the poor. The influence of the creed they profess has made their uprightness and humanity proverbial. Their home influence has been powerful; their views in the outer world are becoming more fully realised every day. Nations have smiled contemptuously at them as they have gone forth on lonely missions of freedom and peace; but the inner beatings of the world's great heart today are in favour of liberty of thought and quietness. The Quakers have been amongst life's pioneers in the long, hard battle for human freedom and human peace. Quakerism may be a quaint, hat-loving, silence-revering concern in its meeting-houses; its Uriahs, and Abimelechs, and Deborahs, and Abigails, may look curious creatures in their collarless coats and long drawn bonnets; but they belong to a race of men and women who have kept the lamp of freedom burning; who have set a higher price upon conscience than gold; who have struggled to make everything free—the body, the religion, the bread and butter, and the trade of the nations; who are now by their doctrines slowly lifting humanity out of the red track of war, and teaching it how grand a triumph can be made all the world over by absolute Peace and Honesty.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH.
Upon a high piece of enclosed land, adjoining Fylde-road, stands St. Peter's Church. Portions of its precincts are covered with gravestones; the remainder has been "considerably damaged" of late, according to the belief of one of the churchwardens, by the vicious scratching of a number of irreverent hens, whose owners will be prosecuted if they do not look better after them. The other Sunday, we saw a notice posted at the front of the church relative to the great hen-scratching question. It is said that some of these tame and reclaimed birds have penetrated a foot or two into the ground for the purpose of lying, not laying, therein; and on this account it is important that their proprietors should look more (h)energetically after them. The foundation stone of St. Peter's Church was laid by Mr. Justice Park, one of the old recorders of Preston, in 1822; Rickman, an able Birmingham architect, designed the place; and the edifice (sans steeple, which was built in 1852, out of money left by the late Thomas German, Esq.), was erected at a cost of 6,900 pounds, provided by the Commissioners for the building of new churches. St. Peter's has a lofty, commanding appearance. Learned people say it is built in the florid Gothic style of architecture, and we are not inclined to dispute their definition. It has a very churchly look, and if the steeple were at the other end, it would be equally orthodox. The world, as a rule, fixes its steeples westward; but St. Peter's, following a few others we could name, rises in the opposite direction, and, like a good Mussulman, turns to the East. There is nothing in its graveyard calling for special comment. Neither monuments nor lofty tombs relieve it. All round it has a flat dull aspect, and good arrangements have been made for walking over the tombstones and obliterating their inscriptions. There are two ways into the church at the western end; both are near each other; but one has advantages which the other does not possess. Passing through the larger you immediately face the pulpit and the congregation; entering by the other you can hang your harp on several preliminary willows—sit just sideways and hear what's going on, stay behind the screen until a point arrives when a move forward can be made without many people catching your "mould of form," or inquire who's present and who isn't, and glide out if nothing suitable is observed.
St. Peter's Church, internally, looks dirty. If cleanliness be next to godliness, a good cleaning would do it good and improve its affinities. Whitewash, paint, floorcloths, dusters, wash leathers, and sundry other articles in the curriculum of scrubbers, renovators, and purifiers are needed. The walls want mundifying, so does the ceiling, so do the floors; the Ten Commandments need improving; the Apostles' Creed isn't plain enough; the spirit of a time worn grimness requires ostracising from the place. All is substantial; but there is an ancient unwashed dulness about the general establishment, which needs transforming into cleanness and brightness. The pews are high, and on the average they will hold six persons each. Seven might get into them on a pinch; but if the number were much extended beyond that point, either abraison or blue places through violent pressure would be the consequence. Two or three pews at the top end will hold twelve each; but that apostolic number is not very often observed in them. The price of a single sitting in the middle aisle is 10s. per annum; the cost of a side seat is equal to three civil half-crowns. The long side seats are free; so are the galleries, excepting that portion of them in front of the organ. Often the church is not much more than half filled on a Sunday; but it is said that many sittings, calculated to accommodate nearly a full congregation, are let. Viewed from the copperhead standpoint this is right; but taking a higher ground it would be more satisfactory if even fewer pews were let and more folk attended. The church is not well arranged for people occupying side seats. In looking ahead the pillars of the nave constantly intercept their vision if they care about seeing who is reading or preaching. Wherever the pulpit were put it would blush unseen, so far as many are concerned. At present it is fixed on the south-eastern side, and only about one-fourth of those seated under the galleries can see either it or the preacher. Some of them at times complain considerably of sequestration; others feel it a little occasionally; a few think it a rather snug thing to be out of sight. A large five- light stained glass window occupies the chancel end; but there is nothing very entrancing in its appearance. The greater portion of it has a bright, amber-coloured, monotonous flashiness about it, which flares the eyes if gazed at long, and makes other things, if looked at directly afterwards, yellow-hued; and it is surmounted with a number of minor designs, reminding one of the big oddities in a mammoth keleidoscope. But the congregation have got used to the window, and will neither break it nor permit others to do so. Six spaces for tablet inscriptions occupy the base of the window. Two of them are blank; two have a great mass of letters packed into them; and two are but moderately filled in with words. At a distance nobody can see what is said upon them. It is reported that they contain the Decalogue and the Apostles' Creed; and if this be so, the incumbent, the curate, and the clerk must have been the parties for whose delight they were put up, for they are the nearest to, and can consequently best read, them. There are the full compliment of sacred enclosures and resting places at the higher end of the church—a chair for the ease of the incumbent or curate; a desk for the prayer reader; a box for the clerk; a lectern for the lesson reader; and a stout pulpit for the preacher.
The congregation of St. Peter's Church, as we have said, is small. We cannot tell whether the collections terrify folk; probably they do; for it is estimated that there are between 30 and 40 of them annually, and sometimes they come in an unbroken line for several Sundays together. A plan like this is enough to make people shy in their attendance,—is certain to make ordinarily generous beings cover what they give with their finger ends, or slip their gifts sharply into the boxes and get them instantly mixed up with the rest, so that nobody can tell whether they have contributed a simple copper, a roguish little threepenny piece, or a respectable looking shilling. There are voluntary contribution boxes at the doors, but they never get very heavy. Those attending the church are mainly working people. With the exception of about five, all have to fight briskly for a living. A greater work has been done outside than within the church. There are many schools and classes belonging, the place. In Cold Bath-street there is a large school for girls and infants, and it is very well attended. In Fylde-road there is a club for working men, open every day; and on Sundays several of the "wives and mothers of Britain" attend a class in the same building. In Brook-street there is a regular day school. On Sunday afternoons the members of an adult male class meet in it. The average attendance of these members is about 160, and their ages range from 20 to 70. The district has been well worked up; and there are many of both sexes in it prepared to either pray or fight for St. Peter's.
The music at the church is good. It costs about 30 pounds a year, and a rather strong effort is sometimes required to raise that sum. The organist immediately preceding the present one used to play for nothing; get one or two collections annually for the choir; and make up out of his own pocket any financial deficiency there might be. The gentleman who now operates upon the organ, likewise gives his services gratuitously; he also has collections for the choir; but if those said collections come short of the sum required, he is seriously impressed with the idea that the deficiency ought to come out of other people's purses, and not his. And so it does. The organist has considerable musical ability; he plays the instrument in his care with precision; but he throws too much force into its effusions—believes too much in high pressure—and the general boiler of its melody may burst some day, kill the blower instantly, and dash the choir into space. The internal service arrangements at St. Peter's are worked by an incumbent, a curate, and a clerk. The last named gentleman has been a long time at his post; he is a dry, orthodox, careful man; never mistook a three-penny for a fourpenny piece in his life; doesn't like slippery sixpences; and he gets for his general services at the church 15 pounds a year. Nobody hardly ever hears him; the responses of the choir materially swamp the music of his voice; but his lips move, and that is at least a sign of life.
The incumbent is the Rev. D. F. Chapman. He has been at the place a few years, and receives about 400 pounds a-year for his trouble. Mr. Chapman is a powerfully-constructed gentleman; is somewhat inclined to oleaginousness; has contracted a marine swing in his walk; is heavily clerical in countenance and cloth; believes in keeping his hair broad at the sides; has a strong will and an enormous opinion of the incumbent of St. Peter's; will fume if crossed; will crush if touched; can't be convinced; has his mind made up and rivetted down on everything; must have his way; thinks every antagonist mistaken; is washy, windy, ponderous; has a clear notion that each of his postulates is worth a couple of demonstrations, that all his theories are tantamount to axioms; and, finally, has quarelled more with his churchwardens than any other live parson in Preston. He once fought for weeks, day and night, with a warden as to the position of a small gas-pipe, because he couldn't get his way about it. He is well educated, but his erudition is not fairly utilised; he can read with moderate precision; but there is a lack of elocutionary finish in his tone; he can talk a long while, and now and then can say a good thing; he preaches with considerable force, makes good use of his arms, sometimes rants a little, at intervals has to pull back his sentences half an inch to get hold of the right word, talks straight out occasionally, telling the congregation what they are doing and what they ought to do; but there is much in his sermons which neither gods nor men will care about digesting, and there is a theological dogmatism in them which ordinary sinners like ourselves will never swallow. We are rather inclined to admire the gentleman who, until lately, officiated as his curate—the Rev. E. Lee,—and who, after preaching his last sermon, was next day made the recipient of that most fashionable and threadbare of all things, a presentation. Originally he indulged in odd pranks, said strange things, was laughably eccentric, and did for a period appear to be, in an ecclesiastical sense, what the kangaroo of Artemus Ward was in a zoological one—"the most amoozin little cuss ever introduced to a discriminatin public." He has still some of the "amoozin" traits about him; but during his curacy in St. Peters district he showed that he could work hard, visit often, look after the poor, be generous, get up good classes, and never tire of his duty. His salary was about 120 pounds a year, and he was benevolent with it. He has a stronger pair of lungs than any parson in Preston, and he can use them longer than most men without feeling tired. His sermons are of a practical type; he believes largely in telling people what he thinks; and never hesitates to hit rich and poor alike in his discourses. He has been transplanted to the Parish Church, and he will stir up a few of the respectable otiose souls there if he has an opportunity. There is a good deal of swagger about him; he believes in carry a stick and turning it; in admiring himself and letting other people know that he is of a cypher; there is much conceit and ever so much bombast about him; he likes giving historical lectures; thinks he is an authority on everything appertaining to Elizabeth, Mary, the Prince of Orange, &c.; is fond of attacking Bishop Goss, and getting into a groove of garrulous declamation concerning Papists; still he is a determined worker, has been a laborious curate, has troubled himself more than many people in looking after those whom parsons are so fond of calling sinners and so indifferent about visiting. He was well liked in St. Peter's district, and we hope that in the new one he has gone to he will gather friends, increase his usefulness, get married, and give fewer polemical lectures.
NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.
De gustibus non est applies with as much force to religious as to secular life. People's tastes will differ; you can no more account for them in church-naming than in kissing or child-christening; and that being so, let no pious piece of perfection dispute with the New Jerusalem brethren as to their spiritual gustation. If a man were virtuously inclined to pirate in his religious nomenclature the oddities of old Carey, who coined that finely flowing word "aldeborontiphoscophornio," which is only a line ahead of that other stately polysyllable "chrononhotonthologos," why let him do so, for somebody with more madness or wisdom than yourself will some day end or mend him. Let every man have his "cogibundity of cogitation," and let people suit themselves about the names of their churches. Swedenborgians is the name commonly given to those who belong to "the New Church signified by the New Jerusalem in the Revelation." They might have cut it shorter to be sure; and they might have had a less mystical but certainly not a cleverer man for their founder than the Swedish Emanuel. No modern ever knew half so much, or knew it so oddly, as Swedenborg; and no one ever wrote so immensely on questions so varied and intractable. He knew something about everything, from toe nails to the differential and integral calculus, from iron smelting to star cycles, and in reading his works you might almost fancy, so familiar does he appear to be with spirits, that he had a quotidian nod from Michael and a daily "How are you, old boy?" from Gabriel. Emerson does well when he puts him down as the representative man of mystery; and when he calls him the mastodon and missourian of literature, he will have the concurrence of all unbiased scholars.
There are about 70 persons in Preston who care vitally for that ideal Church which St. John saw in Patmos—if New Jerusalemism, as delineated by the followers of Swedenborg, is its symbol. Only about 70 are connected as "members" with its physical temple in Avenham- road. More may be in embryo; several maybe hanging on the skirts of conviction, ready for a goodly plunge into reality; but that is the number of mortals at present associated with the "New Church signified by the New Jerusalem," in Preston. All of them are earnest, the bulk are conscientious, and on that account entitled to respect. About a quarter of a century ago, a few sincere Swedenborgians met in an office down Cannon-street, which is now used as a gilding room by a modern Revivalist. They pushed "the cause" with a fair amount of energy, and increased, though by slow degrees, the number of their members. During the period of their spiritual exercises here, the late Mr. Hugh Becconsall, a calm, benevolent-hearted man, got associated with them, and this was the means of bringing into fuller life the principles of Swedenborg in Preston. Mr. Becconsall's thoughts were quickened and changed by them; he became a devoted and sincere believer in the new Church; attended its meetings in Cannon-street; was impressed with the idea that better accomodation was required for them; and finally decided to build out of his own pocket, and endow from the same source, a new church in Avenham-road. It was estimated that the cost of the church would be 1000 pounds, which Mr. Becconsall willingly agreed to pay; but religion has no aegis against "extras"—they will creep in, are irrepressible; and, in accordance with this fatal philosophy, the church in Avenham-road cost in the end nearly 2000 pounds, which he paid without even grumbling—a privilege all Englishmen have the right to exercise freely after they have paid the piper well. The foundation stone was laid in 1843, very soon after which the Rev. James Bonwell, curate of Trinity Church, Preston, made a virulent attack upon Swedenborgianism and its followers. This gentleman, who was subsequently unrobed for immorality, charged both the ministers of the New Church party and all who listened to them, with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and uttered language implying a wish that the earth would open its mouth and swallow them up. The Rev. Augustus Clissold, M.A., formerly collegian at Oxford, who is the only profound scholar in England belonging to the New Church sect, ably answered him. There are many smart polemics but very few great scholars in the sect referred to. Twenty-five years ago New Jerusalem Church, in Avenham-road, was opened, and the believers in it increased for some time afterwards. Anything new is fashionable, and a new church always gives an impetus to the number of its worshipers. Those assembling at the church created much curiosity, and not a little cynical criticism, at first. They even do so now. Ordinarily orthodox people look down censoriously upon believers in "the New Jerusalem," and class them as a mysterious, visionary sect of religionists, given up to dreams, pious eccentricity, and self- righteousness. But they have, like other individuals, a reason for their belief; if it is madness there is method in it; and they are prepared to "argue the point," and make a respectable disturbance if their creed is assailed.
We shall not criticise their belief—neither praise nor condemn it— but just give its chief points for the benefit of unknowing ones. Here they are: they believe in a trinity, not of persons but essentials—love, wisdom, and power; they do not believe in the doctrine of faith alone, but of faith conjoined with good works; they do not believe in a vicarious atonement, but in a reconciliation of man to God; they don't believe in a resurrection of the material body, but a resuscitation of the spirit immediately after physical death; they don't believe in a physical destruction of the world by fire, but think that the world as it is now created will continue to exist—for ever; they have no faith in the Noachian deluge, and say that the sacred record of it refers to an inundation of evil and not of water; finally they believe that there will be marriages in heaven,—not wedding ring unions, not kissing, courting, and quarrelling amalgamations, but conjunctions of goodness with truth; and they have further an idea that there will be "prolifications" in heaven, not of crying children with passions for sucking bottles and sugar teats, but of truth and goodness. Swedenborg, by whom they swear, believed in three heavens and three hells; they have a similar idea, and fancy that common place sinners, who think one heaven will meet all their requirements, and that one hell will be too much for their nerves, are wrong.
New Jerusalem Church, in Preston, has a Sunday school beneath it—a place obtained partly on the celestial and partly on the Irish principle—by heightening the roof and lowering the foundations. The school is pretty well managed; but its scholars are not numerous; they number between 60 and 70, and there is no immediate prospect of an increase. The endowment of the late Mr. Hugh Becconsall realises 100 pounds a-year for the minister—the Rev. E. D. Rendell, who has been at the church ever since its opening; and the investment of a sum of money by the late Mr. John Becconsall, of Ashton, who was a great believer in Swedenborgianism, brings in on his behalf 50 pounds more. The minister once had a "call" to Accrington, where the doctrines of the New Church obtain a very large number of admirers, and in consequence of that call, which necessarily implied a better salary, as well as a wider sphere of action, five 10 pounds notes were added to his stipend here. He was appeased by those said notes. Mr. Rendell also lives rent free in a house adjoining and belonging to the church. Its situation renders the house very convenient; but a position more distant would not have been very harrowing if freedom from rent had accompanied its tenancy.
The Church is built of stone, and has a neat appearance, but the approach to it is not very good. You have to mount a small flight of steps to get to it, and their gradient is so acute that if you should fall on them you would never proceed onward, nor lie still, but wend your way in a rolling manner to the bottom. Internally the church is one of the prettiest in Preston. It is not large; we don't suppose it will accommodate more than about 250; but it is peculiarly neat and pleasing. The walls are painted and slightly ornamented; the windows are toned a little and bordered with elegant, well-finished designs; the chancel is fronted with a gothic arch painted in marble pattern and edged with gold; beyond there is a circular window, stained in bright colours. At each end there is a gallery—one which apparently contains nothing, whilst the other is devoted to the choir. At one side of the chancel arch there is a reading desk, which looks piously at a pulpit, made just like it, on the opposite side. Few churches have windows in the roof; but this has about four—at least they are circular lights, and, in conjunction with the side windows, make the place very bright and cheerful. At the bass of the chancel, beneath the gallery, and behind the communion table, there are several paintings, some, if not all, of which were executed by the minister, who has rather vivid artistic conceptions. In the centre there is an open Bible, and on each side the Decalogue, or something to that effect, for the letters, although in gold, can't be seen very clearly at a distance. Flanking these are sacred figures, which are too small to be attractive at a greater distance than six yards. But in their aggregate the representations look well, and they give a good finish to the chancel. The seats are of various sizes; some will hold three persons, others four, and a few about six.
The church is not well attended; hardly half of it is occupied except upon special occasions. At present it appears to be a little better patronised than formerly; but even now the congregation is comparatively thin, and there will be no necessity for some time to do anything in the shape of enlarging the building. If anything is effected in this way during the present century one of two things will certainly have to happen—either three times as many as those now attending it will have to solicit admission, or those actually visiting it will have to grow three times as stout in their physiology. They are a quiet, pious-looking class of people who frequent the church. They may, like their great apostle, have seasons of inner rapture, and like him revel in the mysteries of the Arcana Coelestia, but if so they keep the thing very subdued. They never scream nor shout about anything, and would refuse to do so if you asked them. Many of them are elderly people, with decorous countenances; all of them, whether old or young, believe in good suits; very few of them are wealthy; none of them seem very poor. Calmness, with a disposition to find you a seat any time, and provide you with books, characterises them. They have fixed services, embracing prayers, lessons, psalms, hymns, and chants. They have an excellent organ, which was given to the place by Mrs. Becconsall; and their music is "ever so fair." Their services, on Sundays, are held in the morning and evening, and they can get to the latter much easier and in much better time than to the former.
Once a month there is an afternoon instead of an evening service, the minister having to officiate for a few of the followers of Swedenborg at Blackburn, who can't afford to pay, or won't get, or don't want, a regular expounder of their views. Mr. Rendell is a rather learnedly-solemn kind of gentleman. Originally he was a painter; but he had a greater passion for polemics than brushes, and was eventually recommended to, and admitted into "the Church" as a minister. He reads the scriptures and prays in black kid cloves, but he shows the natural colour of his hands when preaching. While conducting the preliminary service he wears a white surplice; in the pulpit he has a black gown. He looks very sacerdotal, coldly- clerical, singularly-sad in each place. His voice is deep toned and has a melancholy authoritative ring in it. He is fond of making critical allusions in his sermons; and is rather lengthy in his talk. Some of the old Puritans used to get to a "nineteenthly point" in their discourses, but Mr. Rendell has not reached that numeric climax. He can occasionally get to a fifth point, and then subdivide it, before giving that final "word of advice" which parsons are so enamoured of; but he never branches out beyond this stage. His style of preaching is easy; but it is very solemn. Occasionally he pushes a little Latin into his discourses and at intervals be graces them with morsels of Greek. He can be practical sometimes; can say a wise and generous thing at intervals; but he is often very mysterious, and has a large reverence for that which very few people can get at- -"the spiritual sense." Mr. Rendell is an author as well as a preacher; he has dived into anti-diluvian history, and has tried to bring up mystic treasures from the post-diluvian period. Furthermore, he has written a prize essay on "The Last Judgment." And in addition to everything he is the editor of "The Juvenile Magazine;" but the salary is only poor. Still he may console himself with the thought that he gets as much for his annual services on behalf of modern juveniles as Milton did for his Paradise Lost on behalf of all posterity—a clear 5 pounds note. He has a sharp eye in his head, and there is an aristocratic reverentialness in his look. Learned he is in some things; but we are afraid he is too profound and sad. He has a good analytical faculty, and is a very fair polemical writer; but he is very solemn in tone—very serious, too wise-looking, and phlegmatic. His style of speaking has the ring of earnestness in it; and his delivery is accompanied with a tolerable amount of activity. If he were a little more buoyant, if he could put on a less learned and more cheerful look, and would not got so very grave in his style, he would be better relished. Polemically, he has done fair service for the denomination to which he belongs—done it sometimes in spite of Lily, and Linacre, and their descendants; and if he is not immaculate, he has at least the satisfaction of knowing that nobody else is, and never will be until they reach the real New Jerusalem.
In a part of the town pre-eminently dim, intricate, and populous stands "The Church of the Holy Trinity." Father Time and the smoke of twice five hundred chimneys have darkened its fabric, and transmuted its chiselled stone walls into a dull pile of masonry. But it is a beautiful church for all that. If the exterior has been carbonised and begrimed, the interior has enjoyed a charmed life, and is apparently as young today as it was on "Friday, the eighth of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen," when "George H. Chester" consecrated the building and all thereunto belonging. The first stone of this church was laid on the 4th of June, 1814—the natal anniversary of George III—by Sir Henry Philip Hoghton, of Hoghton, the lay rector and patron of the parish of Preston. Under that first stone there were deposited a number of coins, two scrolls, and one newspaper—the Preston Chronicle. The first minister of Trinity Church was the Rev. Edward Law, a gentleman, who, according to a local historian, "ably defended the belief of the adorable Trinity in a series of letters, assisted by the Rev. R. Baxter, of Stonyhurst, against a Unitarian minister, the Rev. T. C. Holland, which appeared in the Preston Chronicle," and were subsequently reprinted and sold for the enlightenment and mystification of all polemically-minded men. Trinity Church is built on a plot of ground once called Patten Field. Moderns know little, if anything, of that field; but Patten-street—a delicious thoroughfare proximately fronting the church—still remains as a lingering topographical reminder of olden days. There were few houses in the region of Patten Field when Trinity Church was built: pastures were its colleagues, and patches of greensward its regular companions. But things have changed since then, and a mile of houses, stretching northward, and westward, and eastward now fills up the ancient hiatus. Trinity Church cost 9,080 pounds 9s. 3d., and that sum was raised partly by subscriptions and donations and partly by the sale of pews. Who gave the ultimate threepence we cannot tell, neither are we told in what way it was expended.
The architecture of the building is Gothic. There is nothing very striking about the exterior; indeed it looks cold, and sad, and forsaken, and its associations don't improve it. The church is built upon a hill, and, therefore, can't be hid. Its approaches may have been good at one time; its environs may have been aristocratic and healthy in 1814, but they are not so now. Smoky workshops, old buildings, with the windows awfully smashed in, houses given up to "lodgings for travellers here," densely packed dingy cottages, and the tower of a wind mill, which for years nobody has been willing to either mend or pull down, are its architectural concomitants. The approaches to the church are varied and aggravatingly awkward. You can get to the church from any point of the compass, but access to it may mean anything—perhaps, a wandering up courts and passages, a turning round the corners of old narrow streets, an unsavoury acquaintance with the regions of trampery, and an uncomfortable perambulation along corn-torturing causeways and clumsily paved roads. Pigeon flyers, dog fanciers, gossipping vagrants, crying children, old iron, stray hens, women with a passion for sitting on door steps, men looking at nothing with their hands in their pockets, ancient rags pushed into broken windows, and the mirage of perhaps one policeman on duty constitute the sights in the neighbourhood. The church-yard, which contains several substantial tombs and monuments, is in a decent state of preservation. It looks grave as all such places must do; but it is kept in order, and men of the Hervey type of mind might meditate very beneficially amongst its tombs. Trinity may not be the longest, but it is certainly about the widest, church in the town. It is neither a high nor a low, but an absolutely broad church.
Internally it is excellent. On entering the place you are perfectly surprised at its capaciousness. Nothing cramped, nothing showy, nothing dim, grim, nor shabby-genteel enters into its proportions. It is finely expansive, airy, light, and well made. Goodness of build without gaudiness, sanctity without sadness, and evenness of finish without new-fangled intricacy, pervade it. It is fit for either beggars or plutocrats. There is not a better, not a plainer, neater, nor more respectable looking church in the town. And there is not a cleaner. Some of our churches have for years been cultivating a close and irreligious acquaintance with dirt—with dust, cobwebs, mould, and other ancient kinds of mild nastiness; but Trinity Church is a model of cleanliness. Everything in it seems clean—the windows, pews, cushions, mats, floors, &c., are all clean; there is even an air of cleanliness about the sweeping brushes and the venerable dust bin. The church has accomodation for about 1,400 persons of ordinary proportions. The seats are constructed on comfortable principles, and that very traditional article—green baize—plays an important and goodly part in them. At the top and bottom of the middle range, on the ground floor, the seats are of various shapes—some narrow, some broad, a few oblong, and others inclining to the orthodox square. The central ones are regular, and so are those at the sides. In the galleries there is a slight irregularity of shape in the seats; but they are all substantial, and the bulk easy. There are 46 free pews or benches in the church. They run along the sides on the ground floor, and will accommodate nearly 280 persons. All the other seats, excepting about two, were sold to various parties at the time the church was opened- -not for any fixed price all round, but for just as much as the trustees could get. Many were bought by high-class local families, and the names of several of the original and present proprietors— inscribed on small brass plates—may now be seen on the front sides. Fifty of the pews have ground rents, amounting respectively to 1 pounds a year, attached to them. Several of the pews are let, the owners caring little for them, or having removed to other towns; many have been re-sold at intervals; and three have been forfeited through their proprietors having neglected to pay certain trifling rates laid upon them. The pews have deteriorated much in price. Once upon a time, when nearly all the fashionable families of Preston went to Trinity Church, neither Platonic love nor current coin could secure a pew. It was a la mode in its most respectable sense, it was Sabbatical ton in its genteelest form, to have and to hold a pew at Holy Trinity when George the Third was king. And for a considerable period afterwards this continued to be the case. The "exact thing" on a Sunday in Preston, 40 nay 20 years ago, was to own a pew at Trinity Church, to walk up to it, and to sit therein: it was superior to every modern process, and beat "Walking in the Zoo" and all that species of delightful work hollow. Pews were then worth something; they are now worth little. Only the other week a pew, originally bought for about 70 pounds, was sold by auction for 8 pounds! And it is said that some proprietors would not be very unwilling to give a pew or two now, if nicely asked, just to get out of the ratepaying clauses.
Trinity Church has a plain, yet pleasing, chancel. It is neat and good, simple yet well-proportioned and elegant. The chancel window is but sparingly stained; still it has a tasteful and rather stately appearance. Amber is the most prominent colour in it, and loyalty the principal virtue represented on it. There are a few small emblematic-looking characters towards the base, which few can make out; but everybody can see and understand the rather large English outburst of loyalty surmounting the window. The display consists of the Royal arms, well and broadly defined, with a crown above them, and a lion above all. This speaks well for the lion, which ought to be satisfied. Plain Gothic-bordered tablets, with a central monogram, occupy the wall below the window. They have a good effect, and give a somewhat artistic richness to the chancel. Within and at each end of the communion rails there is a fine old oak chair. Both are beautifully carved and are valuable. The reading-desk and the pulpit are placed opposite each other, and at the sides of the chancel. They are very tall, but altitude rather improves than diminishes their appearance. They are well made, are fashioned of dark oak, and have carved Gothic canopies. We have seen nothing so tall nor so respectable-looking in the arena of virtuous rostrumdom for a long period. On each side of the pulpit-desk there is a small circular hole, and those said holes have a history. "What are they used for?" said we one day, whilst in the pulpit, to a friend near us. "For?" said the sagacious party, "they are for nothing;" and then followed a history which we thus summarise for the benefit of parsons in general:- A few years ago a gentleman with a red-hot dash of Hibernian blood in his veins was the curate here. When he came, the stands of two gas lights were fixed in the holes named; but one Sunday, when wilder than usual, he gave the bottom of the right-hand stand a vehement beating, smashed his ring in the encounter, and frightened the incumbent, who, being apprehensive as to the fate of the two stands and their globes, had them shifted further back and more out of the curate's reach. They were in imminent peril every minute, and a change was really necessary.
Not many years ago—plenty of people can remember it—the congregation of Trinity Church was both large and influential. The elements of influence and the representatives of wealth may still be seen in it; but few and far between are the worshippers. Pews may be owned, seats may be taken, few sittings may be to let, but where are the worshippers? What a pity it is, that a church of proportions so goodly, an edifice with accomodation so capacious, a building with arrangements so substantial and excellent should be deserted in a manner so absolute? A screw of large dimensions is loose somewhere. The population of the district seems great—dense; many of the people round about the church stand singularly in need of entire acres of virtue, some of them are thorough-going heathens, and think heathenism a rather jolly thing at times. And yet this most excellent church is comparatively empty—desolate—reminding one painfully of Ossian's picture of Balclutha's walls. The congregation of Trinity Church is better than it was a few years ago, but it is still lamentably, small. There is often "a beggarly account of empty boxes"—a great deal of nothing in the church, and how to remedy this defect is a problem. The present congregation consists of a very moderate number of middle class people, a few elderly well-to- do individuals, a thin scattering of poor folk, and a small body of Sunday school scholars. The Recorder of Preston, who has been connected with the management of the church since the time it was opened, attends regularly when health permits: Trinity Church is, of course, in the hands of trustees, and as people of an inquiring turn of mind sometimes wonder who they are we will give their names. Here are the trustees: Mr. T. B. Addison, Mr. John Cooper, Mr. Thos. Walmsley, Mr. John Swainson, Mr. John Bickerstaffe, Mr. Thomas Houlker, and Mr. Isaac Gate. The present churchwardens are Mr. W. Fort and Mr. W. H. Smith, and they have discharged their duties— looked after the church, kept it clean, preserved its order—in thoroughly commendable style. Testimonials are due for their services.
The music at Trinity Church has for a considerable period been a troublesome, irregular, unsatisfactory thing. Years ago it was fine; there was full cathedral service in the church then; and the orchestral performances were attractive. But dullness and poorness are now their characteristics. The organ is one of the best in the town; its tones are fine and musical; it could perhaps be improved in one or two particulars; but everything in it is good as far as it goes. The tunes, however, which come from it are of a very ordinary character. Some of them may be tasteful; but the bulk seem weak and wearisome—lack fine-flowing harmony, and can neither be joined in nor appreciated by many parties. The members of the choir are not a very lustrous class of vocalists; but they do their best, and appear to fight through the musical fog surrounding them very patiently. We believe the tunes are selected by the incumbent. If so, let us hope that he will see the propriety of recognising something a little brisker and more classical—something rather livelier and more popularly relishable. Many clergymen simply select the hymns and leave the music to the choir: the incumbent might try this plan as an experiment. Squabbling about music, carping, and fighting, and biting about it, have in the past done much harm to Trinity Church. There is more peace now than there used to be amongst the singers; but there will never be very much contentment, and never much harmony of music, until they are permitted to moderately follow the custom of other places—to swim with the tide—and have a reasonable share of their own way. Singers can, as a rule, quarrel enough among themselves when in the enjoyment of the fullest privileges; and interference with their services, if they are really worth anything, only makes them more ill-natured, angular, and combative. They are awkward people to deal with, and have strange likings for "hot water."
The minister of Trinity Church is the Rev. J. T. Brown, and his salary amounts to about 300 pounds a year. He was christened at the place; was in after years curate of it; and is now its incumbent. About two years ago, when he came to the church in the last-named capacity, the congregation was wretchedly thin—awfully scarce, and just on the borders of invisibility. It has since improved a little; but working up a forsaken place into real activity is a difficult task, which at times staggers the ablest of men. Mr. Brown is a scholar, and a thoroughly upright man. He believes not in fighting down other people's creeds; never rails against religious antagonists; has a natural dislike to platform bigotry and pulpit wrathfulness; is generously inclined; will give but not lend; objects to everything in the shape of loud clerical display; is strongly evangelical in his tastes; is exact, and calm, and orderly, even to the cut of his whiskers; won't be brought out and exhibited; doesn't care about seeing other people make exhibitions; and thinks every minister should mind his own business, and leave other people alone. But he is far too good for a parson. A gentle melancholy seems to have got hold of him. He always preaches sincerely; a quiet spirit of simple unadorned, piety pervades his remarks—but he depresses you too much; and is rather predisposed to a calm mournful consideration of the great sulphur question. He never gets into a lurid passion, never horrifies, but calmly saddens you, in his discourses. He is fond of quoting good old Richard Baxter and John Banyan, and he might have worse authorities. But he is very serious, and his words sometimes chill like a condensation of Young's "Night Thoughts." If he had more dash and blithesomeness in him, if he could fling a little more of this world's logic into his sermons, if he would periodically blow his own trumpet very audibly, and make a smart "spread" now and then, he would gather force. The best of things will sink if there be not some noise and show made about them. If Mr. Brown knew the "Holloway's Pills and Ointment" theory better than he does, he would have a fuller congregation; but he is too honest and too good for superficial emblazonry, and he believes in quietness.
Trinity Church has some excellent schools for boys, girls, and infants. The attendance is only poor; but it is better than it was. The boys' school is improving; that of the girls is also recruiting the strength it lost last Whitsuntide but one, when a number of its attendants left in a body because Mr. Brown objected to a display of orange and blue ribbons which they were senselessly enamoured of; and with respect to the infants they are regularly growing in size if not in numbers. Mrs. Brown, wife of the incumbent, not only industriously visits the district, like a genuine Christian lady as she is, but teaches in the girls school, and at intervals when at church—here is an example for parsons' wives—looks after a number of the scholars personally, whilst her own servants are quietly occupying the family pew. We could like to see both the church and the schools of Mr. Brown full; he has our best wishes in this respect; and we hope he may find some talisman by which the difficulty will be satisfactorily solved.
LANCASTER-ROAD CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL.
Preston Congregationalism is a very good, a very respectable, and a very quarrelsome creature. It is liberal but gingerly; has a large regard for freedom, but will quarrel if crossed; can achieve commendable triumphs in the regions of peace, but likes a conscientious disturbance at intervals; believes in the power of union, but acts as if a split were occasionally essential; will nurse its own children well when they are quiet, but recognises the virtues of a shake if uneasiness supervenes; respects its ministers much, but will order them to move on if they fret its epidermis too acutely; can pray well, work well, fight well; and from its antagonisms can distil benefits. About nine years since, a sacred stirring of heads, a sharp moving of tongues, and a lively up- heaving of bristles took place at Cannon-street Congregational Chapel, in this town. The result of the dispute involved, amongst other things, a separation—a clear marching from the place of several parties who, whether rightly or wrongly, matters not now, felt themselves aggrieved. They did not leave the chapel in processional order, neither did they throw stones and then run, when they took their departure. The process of evaporation was quiet and orderly. For 12 months the seceders worshipped on their own account, in accordance with the principles of Congregationalism, at the Institution, Avenham, and whilst there they gathered strength. In the meantime they negotiated for land upon which to build a new chapel and schools; and finally they purchased a site on the higher side of the Orchard, contiguous to the old Vicarage—a rare piece of antique, rubbishy ruin in these days—and very near, if not actually upon, ground which once formed the garden of the famous Isaac Ambrose, who was Vicar of Preston in 1650, and afterwards ejected; with many more in the land, on account of his religious opinions. Thinking it good to harmonise with that ancient wisdom which recommends people to carry the calf before beginning with the cow, the new band of Congregationalists under notice, commenced operations on the site named by erecting a large school room in which for about a year they worshipped. In due time they got the chapel built, and for about seven years it has been open.
Its position is prominent; but its associations, like those of the generality of sacred edifices, has a special bearing upon the world we live in. Above it there is a portion of the old vicarage buildings, graced in front with various articles, the most prominent being a string of delapidated red jackets; right facing it we have the sable Smithsonian Institute, flanked with that gay and festive lion which is for ever running and never stirring; below there are classic establishments for rifle-shooting, likeness taking, and hot pea revelling; and ahead there is the police station. The chapel stands well, occupies high and commanding ground, and looks rather stately. Its exterior design is good; and if the stone of its facade had been of a better quality—had contained fewer flaws and been more closely jointed—it would have merited one of our best architectural bows. The chapel and school, and the land upon which they are erected, cost 7,000 pounds, and about 1,000 pounds of that sum remains to be paid. This is not bad. Considering the brevity of their existence and the severe times they have had to pass through, the Lancaster-road Congregationalists must have worked hard and put a very vigorous Christian screw into operation to reduce their debt so rapidly.
The inside of the chapel is plain, very neat, and quite genteel. We have seen no Congregational place of worship in this part equal to it in ease and elegance of design. It is amphi-theatrical, is galleried three quarters round, and derives the bulk of its beauty— not from ornament, not from rich artistic hues, nor rare mouldings, nor exquisite carvings, but from its quiet harmony of arrangement, its simple gracefulness of form, its close adherence in outline and detail to the laws of symmetry and proportion. The circular style prevails most in it, and how to make everything round or half-round seems to have been the supreme job of the designer. The gallery above, the seats below, the platform, the pulpit on which it stands, the chairs behind, the orchestra and its canopy, the window-heads, the surmountings of the entrance screen, the gas pendants, and scores of other things, have all a strong fondness for circularity; and the same predilection is manifested outside; the large lamps there being quite round and fixed upon circular columns. The pews in the chapel are very strong, have receding backs, and make sitting in them rather a pleasing, easy, contented affair. The highest price for a single seat is 3s. 6d. per quarter; the lowest 1s. There are a few free sittings in the place, and although they may seem a long way back—being at the rear of the gallery—their position is not to be despised. They are not so far distant as to render hearing difficult; and they obviate that unseemly publicity which is given to poor people in some places of worship. How to give the poorest and hungriest folk a very good seat in a very prominent place—how to herd them together and piously pen them up in some particular place where everybody can see them—appears to be an object in many religious edifices. But that is a piece of benevolent shabbiness which must come to grief some day. In the meantime, and until the period arrives when honest poverty will be considered no crime, and when a seat next to a poor man will be thought nothing vulgar, or contaminating, whilst worshipping before Him who cares for souls not lucre, hearts not wealth, let the poor be put in some place where they can hear fairly without being unduly exhibited. The chapel we are noticing has a spacious appearance within, and has none of that depressing dulness which makes some people very sad long before they have been ministerially operated upon. From side windows there comes a good light; and from the roof, which has a central transparency, additional clearness is obtained. The light from the ceiling would be improved if the glass it were kept a little cleaner.
The congregation is neither a very large nor a particularly small one. It is fairly medium—might be worse, and would in no way be hurt if it were enlarged. The "members" number about 120, and they are just about as good as the rest of mortals, who have "made their calling and election sure." The congregation consists almost entirely of middle and working class people. There is not so much of that high, gassy pride, that fine mezzotinto, isolated hauteur and self-righteousness in the place which may be seen in some chapels. Of course, particles of vanity, morsels of straight-lacedness, lively little bits of cantankerousness, and odd manifestations of first person pronoun worship periodically crop up; but altogether the congregation has a quiet, unassuming, friendly disposition. Nobody in it appears to be very much better or worse than yourself; there is an evenness of tone and a sociality of feeling in the spot; and a stranger can enter it without being violently stared at, and can sit down without feeling that his room is nearly if not quite as good as his company. The music is fairly congregational; individuals in various parts of the chapel have sufficient courage to sing; and the choir is moderately harmonious; but the melody one hears in the place is rather flat and meagre; it lacks instrumental relief; and it will never be really up to the mark until an organ is obtained.
The first regular minister of this chapel was the Rev. G. W. Clapham; he was connected with it for some years; then had a "difficulty" with certain parties—deacons amongst the rest, of course; and afterwards left the place, uttering, in a quiet Shaksperian tone, as he departed, "Now mark how I will undo myself:" He threw to the winds his Congregationalism, and a few months ago joined, in due clerical order, the Church of England. The present pastor of Lancaster-road Congregational Chapel is the Rev. E. Bolton. The "church" tried the merits of about 30 ministers before making a selection. The height, depth, weight, tone of voice, matter, manner, theology, brains, and spirit of that band of 30 were duly weighed, and finally, Mr. Bolton was picked out. A salary of 300 pounds was offered him. He might have got other places, and if he had followed the clerical wisdom of his generation he would have tried to secure one of them; for they all, more or less, implied a better salary than that which the Preston people offered him. But he fixed upon Preston just because he fancied more good might be done therein than elsewhere. A trick like this—a generosity so distinct as this—is a real oasis in the ecclesiastical desert. Few parsons would imitate it. How to get the biggest salary, and lug in the "will of the Lord" as an excuse for changing to some locality where it could be snugly got, is the question which many pious men seem desirous of solving. Mr. Bolton has different ideas, and finds some compensation in goodness achieved as well as in money pocketed. He has been at Lancaster-road Chapel three months, and, unlike many new parsons, he had more sense than preach his best sermons first—than make a grand pyrotechnic dash at the onset and settle down into a round of prating mediocrity afterwards. When tried he gave the people a fair average specimen of what he could do—did not say his best nor his commonest things; began with a fire which he could keep up; and the result is not disappointment, but an increasing relish.
Mr. Bolton is a plain, dark-complexioned, clear-headed man—rather clerical in look; well-built; married; about 38 years of age; fond of a billycock; teetotal, but averse to drowning other people with water; doesn't think it sinful to smoke just one pipe of tobacco after he has done a day's work; had rather visit poor than rich people; dislikes namby-pambying and making a greater fuss over high than low class members of his church; thinks that those in poverty need most looking after, and that those with good homes and decent purses should try to look a little after themselves; believes in working hard; cares precious little for deacons—we rather like that, for deacons are queer birds to encounter; is original in thought, fairly up in theology, and straightforward in language. It is rather a treat to see him preach. He does not, like the bulk of parsons, solemnly work out all his divinity in the pulpit: preaching is not a sad, up and down, air-sawing, monotonous thing with him; he steps out of the sacred box when his feelings begin to warm up, moves to one side of it, then round the back of it, and then to the other side of it; talks to you and not at you; is quite conversational in style, and ignores everything conventional and stereotyped in manner. He exercises his lungs with considerable force at times; but he never tears nor disturbs the circumambient air with religious agony. It is as pleasant to hear as to see him. Good sound sense, neatly adjusted argument, newness of thought, and clear illustration characterise his expressions. He is liberal and independent in tone; speaks easily, and if he now and then wanders a little he always returns to the question with vigour, and freshness. He has no written sermons; a few notes are sufficient for him; he does not believe in long discourses; he has an idea that it is better to say a little and let it be well understood than float into immensity, let off fireworks there, and dumfounder everybody. But he has his faults. He has quite as much confidence in himself as is requisite for the present. He is rather too impervious and too oracular; but then who would not be if they had the chance? We like him well on the whole, and as he is new amongst us, it is but right that we should deliver him with charity. Adjoining the chapel there are many class-rooms, and a fine school. Boys, girls, and infants are accommodated in them. The average Sunday attendance is about 200. We believe Mr. Bolton will add numeric strength to both the chapel and schools. And if he does, let no one make the least conceivable noise, for there is room enough for all in Preston. The town isn't a quarter as virtuous as it should be; the bulk of us are scarcely half as good as we ought to be; and if anybody can do any good in any way let it be done without a single whimper.