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were, or that our own personal warfare is at an end, because we may have, during the past year, successfully striven.
Let us, then, make up our minds that, in some way or other, we shall be tried; and whatever be the trial, let us remember Him Who this day submitted to the legal sword, that He might sanctify to us trial and suffering. Let us fix our thoughts steadily on the Incarnation, and remember, if perplexities of mind and doubts assail us, how great, beyond conception, was His mental agony; if physical pain wear us down, that His flesh was sorely mangled; if we lose friends, that He wept at Lazarus' grave; if we are deprived of property or worldly influence, that He was an outcast and a wanderer; if our summons come, that He died, and by His descent to the dwelling-place of disembodied souls, has sanctified that unknown region to His faithful ones; nay, more, that by His triumphant resurrection and ascension, He has given us a pledge that the power of death is broken, and that with bodies made like to His glorious Body, His elect shall, when He comes again, ascend with Him to that new heaven and new earth, where there is no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, for the former things are passed away."
A CHRISTMAS CAROL FOR CHILDREN.
TUNE, O my love is like a red red rose.
"TIS at Christmas time, when frost is out,
And icicles and snowdrifts make
This cold world seem most cold,-
"Tis at Christmas time, when holly shines
Of scarlet berries weaves,—
And at Christmas time is our own bright day,
Who died for CHRIST, went up on high
To begin a happier year;
Blest Innocents! like the flowers that now
OUR WRITING DESK.
NOTES OF THE MONTH.
LAST year we held a conference with our readers on the month, its distinctive marks, old customs, and religious observances. A wish has been expressed that we would still reserve a little corner for ourselves; in fact, the Publisher caring for you, gentle reader, is imperative, and we must obey. It has struck us that there are very many of our poorer classes unable to obtain newspapers, who might be glad to have a brief compendium of passing events, and a short notice of books, or other things of a kindred nature. This, then, we shall endeavour to supply, and hope to make our monthly summary a pleasing and instructive feature of the "Companion."
The Editor's Desk.
CHURCH NEWS OF THE MONTH.
During the last month, things have been pretty much in statu quo. The rival Manchester schemes have been prominently brought before the world in the shape of public meetings; and the real matter on which members of the Church require to be forewarned, in order to be forearmed, is the insidious effort which is being made to get rid of the Church Catechism in the schools,—a fundamental principle, be it remembered, of the
National Society's charter. Another attempt is also being made to reduce the services at S. Mark's* to the rule of parochial Churches. Upon these two grave subjects of consideration, we trust that all our readers will be fully resolved to be firm and determined. To give up the Church Catechism is to surrender a great storehouse of dogmatic theology, the very foundation of all distinctive teaching in the Catholic principles of the Church of England. Compromise or surrender here is sin ; and if it be true, as Archdeacon Denison has said, that the neglect of this rule has been connived at by the committee, it is but right that the subscribers, whose officers the committee are, should take the matter in hand, and demand, what Archdeacon Denison has failed to obtain, a decisive and definite answer whether this be so or not.
The services at S. Mark's, &c., are scarcely of less moment. What is meant by reducing the services there, and conforming them to the model of parish Churches, we know not. A more indefinite rule could scarcely have been devised. It is with shame we confess that there are few parish Churches where uniformity is maintained, and upon none of these have the objectors fixed. Why choose a fluctuating and varying standard, when there is a plain and certain one in the Book of Common Prayer itself. We have often been at S. Mark's, and have never seen or observed anything against its injunctions; but, on the contrary, have ever been delighted with the effective way in which the services are rendered. Before an effort of this kind can claim to have a justifiable ground on which to be made, the words "say" and "sing" must be abolished. We trust, therefore, that the members of the National Society will not be found wanting when the day of trial comes, but will all be at their posts, prepared to do their duty.
The jubilee of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts has been celebrated with enthusiasm at home and abroad, and the subscriptions and offerings have shown a liberal mind and a willing heart to bear each other's burthens. At some of the meetings, the true law of Christian almsdeeds was fully brought out.
The New York Churchman," which has just reached us, contains an account of the consecration of the Rev. H. J. Whitehouse, as assistant Bishop of Illinois, which took place at S. George's, New York, when a large number of Clergy attended, thirty in surplices, and the rest in gowns. The sermon was preached by the Bishop of Pennsylvania. The services are said to have been very impressive, and the large Church was densely crowded. The students of the General Theological
*The National Society's College Chapel, Chelsea.
Seminary rendered valuable assistance in the musical department. The same paper also contains an account of the effect of a musical rendering of the Burial Service, on the occasion of the interment of the Rev. Dr. Crosswell. We are told (and we doubt it not) that when the choir struck into the 130th Psalm, the effect was inexpressibly moving. The Bishop of New Jersey (Doane) has published some touching verses with regard to the same occasion.
The "Christian Observer," of November, contained an article on the foreign orders question, which has been published separately, and to which a reply is, we believe, being prepared.
But by far the most important feature of the month, is a valuable decision, by the Lord Bishop of Exeter, upon the right of a Rector to adorn the chancel of the Church, and the general question of æsthetics. A dispute had arisen between the Rector of Shevioke and some of the dissatisfied, and the Bishop was appealed to. He forwarded the following decision, which all our readers will be glad to see; and with this we conclude our summary:
"I have read with much attention the clear, the able, and impartial report made by the rural dean on the painting now in progress in the chancel of Shevioke Church. On the one hand, a very great majority of the communicants (chiefly, I believe, of the poorer classes,-fortynine out of fifty-nine-warmly approved and have addressed a memorial to me in favour of the paintings; on the other hand, a vote condemning the paintings, and praying me to use my authority to require that what is already done be effaced and what is further intended to be done be abandoned, was passed at a meeting of the vestry, called for the purpose, with only one dissentient voice-the rector's; the meeting itself, however, consisting, as has been stated to me, of seven persons only. Again, of four parishioners, who attended the rural dean, after due warning, as complainants, three are not now communicants. These are particulars which the rural dean has done most properly in reporting, but which I deem it right to dismiss altogether from consideration in deciding on the matter now before me. That matter I must not forget involves a question of right-the right of the rector to adorn the walls of the chancel at his own discretion, subject to be controlled by the bishop, if he place there any ornament of a character in itself open to just censure, whether as superstitious, or indecorous, or otherwise improper. I have no hesitation in saying that I recognise the right of the rector, and disclaim, as bishop, all authority which is not consistent with it. Looking at the question thus, I find very little which demands my interference in the partially executed designs for ornamenting the chancel of the Church at Shevioke, or in what is further intended. The north wall only is, as yet, at all dealt with. It is covered with a diapered ground of red and white, the white being intended to be gilt." On this ground are five circular spaces or medallions,' each of about
two feet six inches in diameter. Within these circles are delineated in water-colours-1. The Annunciation; 2. Our LORD in Majesty,' seated on a rainbow; 3. Our LORD being led to execution; 4. Our LORD with Martha, Mary and Lazarus; 5. The first miracle in Cana of Galilee. These representations are stated to be all taken from Overbeck. They are all scriptural subjects, and in design seem to be unobjectionable, with a single exception. In the Annunciation the angel is kneeling to the Virgin Mary. This is open to censure, as implying that the blessed Virgin is an object of adoration; and this objection is not removed by the fact (in itself satisfactory) of the Virgin being also kneeling, with uplifted hands, as in prayer to GoD. I direct that the scandal of representing the angel as kneeling to the Virgin be removed; and if this be done, there appears to be no part of the work hitherto executed which I have any just authority to forbid. Any other painting begun, except on a part of the east wall, and those which are proposed, I deem it to be within the lawful discretion of the rector to adopt as ornaments of his chancel walls, as well as an intended window of stained glass, containing figures of S. Stephen and S. Alban. In an age when no decoration is deemed too costly for the dwellings of the opulent among us, of all orders, it is surely a matter of just praise, rather than of reasonable censure, that a not opulent clergyman, modest and unpretending in his own house, devotes whatever means he can command to the somewhat sumptuous, it may be, yet sober and reverential adorning the House of God.
"Bishopstowe, December 6."