Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

2 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



ST. ASAPH 1 DIOCESAN CONFERENCE. Page 3.) the duty on the part of the clergy is not included in my theme, and therefore » not subject eithei to ™ur consideration at present nor to my remarks. What th" Is the upshot of all I have said It seems that ^lt is wanted is-lst, Charity, which will make us lenient to the weakness and prejudices of others. ~ndl>. Humility which will make us doubtful oi our own motives, and our own wisdom and correctness of judgment. 3rdly. Large- mind-dnes-i which will prevent our running in sectarian grooves, or adopting the cant, the mannerisms, the narrowness or the superstitions of any set of people This is very far from a liber? lity of opinion that is akin to indifference, but it is a L-o\d and noble idea of Christianity. (Cheers ) And lastly, what is wanted is devout and faitftul prayer, guided into all truth, and have a right and surely if we appeal to and are directed by the Ho y > I our inia^inary difficulties will grow less alarming an y Iw our really endangered rights that will be minds, or that willnecessitate the duty on the part of the Uity of having recourse to hostile action. (Loud cheers) The Kev LL \Vr-;>R. JONES read the following paper My Lord,-I assume that this subject would not have been chosen fur discussion at our Conference to-day, unless there was felt *n aoai'' (juirters at ail events, Lue need of some adjustment as rtar s t n^Sri t, be considered, It is, I think, evidently imn'ipd 'bat the rights of the laity in connection with public wirsHio h-'ve not alwavs been sufficiently recognised and that the duties of the laity have not always been sufficiently remem- bered Vrni it may be that this felt need of adjustment is only after -ill a natural result of the greater interest taken of late years in everylaiii-, affecting the wellire of the Church, and also of a grvwi:; con yictio!l that the clergy alone are not the Church. Tillie wai and not so very far distant, wheu for the most part little interest was taken in any matters that concerned the Church, and when even by many of the clergy the duties appertaining to their Uign office were too frequently discharged in the most porfn^rsorv mumer. It was said sarcastically that tlie laity wre then treated bv the clergy as if they were only sleeping partners in a rather slow and shaky concern, in which there werj many subscription calls, whilo the dividends in the way of protit were infinitely small. Those' were the days ill which, like the mighty ice stream of the glacier, which moves slowly on because the temperature of all its mass lingers at the freezing point, religion aiiionu.-t us had sunk sadly and almost hopelessly to the frozen point of a lifeless, even while it was a respectable, belief in Christianity < But all that is now happily changed and actn ity is almost everywhere the order of the day Mot only are the cler-v much more alive than formerly to the duties and respon- sible* of their sacred calling but Christian laymen are also much more interest in all that concerns the efficiency of the church services. And,as the natural result of such increased life, interest, and activity, it is perhaps hardly to be wondered at that it should now be thought that the rights and duties ot the laity in connection with public worship need to be con- sidered with a view to equitable adjustment. Nor is the tact that laymen desire to take a more active part in the Church s atf iirs by any means an unhealthy state of things, Far other- wise. Friction no doubt may be sometimes very inconvenient, as when it produces collision, but it is nevertheless one of those powers of a iti-tre that is most essential to our well being, for it is said to be that force that opposes displacement, keeps things steady, and finally brings them, if in motion, to a state of rest. And so I hone that the outcome of any uneasy friction now felt between cleriy and laity may not be unfriendly collision, but rather a beneficial counterbalancing of not necessarily opposing forces. It appears to me that the state of things in the Church consequent upou revived activity, is not unlike what would probably be found in one of our great ironcla Is if, from want of use, the miclunery had been allowed to get somewhat rusty and out of order. There would be screws loose in many places- a good deal of easing and oiling would be necessary, and officers and crew would have to learn to tit into their pla'ces. But after a time all would be adjusted and the noble snip would go pn its way ready for every call of duty. Now my own conviction is that things are gradually righting themselves in our Church. It is being more and more recognized that the laity have undoubted rights in connection with public worship, and it is being more and more acknowledged that thire are corresponding duties that ought not to be separated from these rights. And I believe that if there is only more of mutual consideration, of good sense, and good feeling, more of giviug and taking-a little more oiling and easing of the machinery,if there should be fewer irresponsible popes amongst the clergy who are minded to lord it over Gods heritage and fewer unreasonable obstructionists amongst the laity, who for- get that the clergy have rights and responsibilities as well as themselves, the good old Church of England may yet, in spite of all attacks from without, have with Gods blessing a long a.nd glorious career of usefulness before ner. The rule is certainly a good one, Sicut Laici jurisllictioRem clericorum perturbare, ita clerica jurisdictionem laicorum non debent imuiinnere." (Innocent quoted by Hooker Book 8, chap. 6). Now, coming to the two things to be discussed, I am glad that they come before me in thd order in which they stand in the paper of subjects, for ( should not like upon an occasion such JuTchis, to appear to lecture our lay friends upon their duties, unless I could plead first for their rights, and having done that I feel that I may claim the privilege of speaking plainly about their duties. With regard then to the rights of laymen, I have carefully read some of the utterances of laymen themselves upon this subject at Church Congresses, and my impression is, that for the most part their wants are very moderate and reason- aide I am well aware that there are some who entertain a va;ue idea that it is possible and desirable to give to Church- men power in regard to public worship, somewhat like that which deacons exercise in Nonconformist chapels. lately an intelligent layman said to me that the clergy of the Church of Knsjland are only playing with the matter now before as, and not serion«l^ grappling with it, and, whoa pressed for a reason he said we are not disposed to give to the laity power similar to what Dissenting deacons possess. Well, my impression is that such a concession, if desirable could not be made without a complete reconstruction of the Church's organization, and that if it could be made it is not desirable, for have we not heard of the officious interference and petty tyranny of deacons often making the position of Nonconformist preachers, if they have any independence of thought and feeling, well-nigh unbearable. But, as I said before, the wants of the laity as expressed by themselves at Church Congresses, are for the most part modest and reasonable enough. They appear to me to amount to little more than this, that not only should the authorised services of our Church be fully performed in accordance with the require- ments of the Book of Common Prayer, but that no sudden and arbitrary changes though within the limits of the law (not even the introduction of a new hymn book) should be made without the opinions of the majority of the congregatiou having first been taken in a friendly way. It is but natural that laymen should wish to be consulted upon such matters, and it certainly is our wisdom, as far as possible, to gratify so reasonable a desire. For if it be true thic the strength of Nonconformity lies chietly in this, that the leading members of Dissenting congrega- tions have something to do in connection with the services in chapels, may it not be that sometimes a cause of weakness as well as of ill-feeling in parishes is that changes are forced witb a high haml upon Churchmen. It has been said, and. wisely too, that"1 you never will get men to co-operate with you in any busi- ness until they have something to do with the management of it, and then you will got more and better work done, exactly in proportion as you take peoplo frankly into your counsels, and as they tind that their advice is fairly and honestly considered. What St. Paul said to Philemon is worth remembering in this connection, I would do nothing without thy mind." Then as regards Con- vocation (of which we heard so much yesterday) I will only say now, that if ever it is to become anything more than a mere deliberative assembly, the laity ought certainly to have a vote as regards any changes affecting the doctrine, ceremonials, and practice of the Church. The words of Hooker are most appro- priate. Until," he says, it can ba proved that some special law of Christ hath for ever annexed unto the clergy alone the law of Christ hath for ever annexed unto the clergy alone the power to make Ecclesiastical Laws, we are to hold it as a thing most consonant with equity aud reason, that no Ecclesiastical Laws be made in a Christian community without consent as well of the laity as of the clergy" (Book 6, chapter C). Tiitoseare words of sound wisdom, and worthy of the Judicious Hooker, forif it is admitted that the laity are as much the Church as the clergy they certainly ought not to be treated as if they were mere children. They have as much at stake in the Church they are often as well informed, and as spiritually minded, and are able to aiscern things that ditfer in religion. Why then, I ask, should they not have their full share of ecclesiastical legis- lation ? Further, I hold that in a National Church like ours every parishioner has a right to iree accommodation so far as it is practicable (and that without respect of persons) in the Parish Church. All are equal within the Church's gate." There Rich and poor are met together, and the Lord is the maker of them all." The exclusiveness of the pew sv-teni is, I am glad to be able to say, becoming as much a thing of the past as the old flint lock guns, and very rarely now does one see a dreary mausoleum full of high enclosures and dilapidated hassocks and most unexpected corners. But turning now from the rights of laymen to the other branch of the subject, I must ask our lay friends to bear with me while I venture to maintain this position, that as they justly claim to ba a part of the visible Church, there are duties devolving upon them in connection with public worship that cannot be per- formed unless they are regular attendants upon the Church ser- vices. It cannot be necessary to remind such an audience as this that Churchmen are only outside buttresses of the Church who are guilty of what Lord Graaville called a few days ago the sin of habitual abstinence from public worship," neglect of a high privilege and a solemn duty, (a) a duty to them- selves as well as to God, fur public worship is an appointed means of advancement in the higher life of which we heard last night. (b) A duty to others, for bad example is infectious, and children, servants, and dependents readily imitate any indiffer- ence to religion in the head of a family. Nor ought it to be necessary to say—that the Church's servicei are congregational —the ministers and choirs have simply to lead—and that as leading implies a following, worshippers in our churches have a part to perform in the services. But there is still another matter bearing* closely upon the subject before us. Preaching is ac- knowledged to be an important accompaniment of public wor- ship. But the laity sometimes complain that the sermons they hear are dry, dull, and ill prepared, like those to which Sydney Smith sarcastically alluded when he said Why call in the aid of paralysis to piety ? Is sin to be taken out from man as Eve from Adam, by casting him into a deep sleep ?" Well, the reason for this very often is want of sufficient time for preparation, especially in large parishes, where the various duties of the clergymen demand so much time and attention. Now, as many laymen have special gifts for such purposes, and as, according to Tennyson, Life is not an idle ore, but to shape and use," it is, I think, their duty to relieve t':? clerjy as much a3 possible from secular burdens and cares, so that they may devote themselves more exclusively to the work of the ministry. No Church, I am oersuaded, is in a satisfactory state in which there are not earnest laymen willing to say to their clergy, "Give us some work to do for Christ." And I am sure there ought to be readiness on the part of the clergy, without jealousy or suspicion, to find work which the laity may legitimately do. John Wesley's maxim was a wise ore, "lge talent and you will find talent." And as regards the co-operation of laymen with the clergy, the old rule is surely a good one, "Quod omnes tanget, omnibus tractari debet." I look," said the present leader of the House of Commons, in a uery able paper read before the Church Congress at Bath, I look with dissatisfaction upon the imperfect share which is assigned to the laity in the administration of matters of com- mon concern in the Church, for in order to accomplish her task the Church must carry the nation with her, and, in order to carry the nation with ner, she must make a far greater c-ii than at present upon that great but imperfectly developed element ot her strength-tne Christian laity." I will only further say, I am not an optimist. I am not looking for a milleniul state oefore the second coming cf our blessed Lord. But I am sanguine enough to believe that out of the present apparently chaotic struggling of the elements of thought, feeling, and activity, the Church esta- blished in this land may yet present sucn an aspect as she never did before that sh9 will look forth as the morning, fair as the morn, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; that she will wipe out any blots that now disfigure her; that she, being true to her Lord and herself, will triumph over all enemies obstacles, and march onwards in the grand cause to which she is called, and for which she is especially fitted, and for which she has the noblest opportunities in the present day. But it is her great crisis, she 'is once for all on her trial, and, in order to accomplish her great destiny, like must icseall her resources. She must not lean upon one arm of her service, to the neglect of others, nor think that any will avail without all. She must shake herself from the dust—call out her reserve forces—rouse all her members to action, having tho same care for each and recognising the claims and inter dependenceof one up^n another. And, as by the Church we mean a visible body- ma ie up of individual members, may it be ours, each in his own position, laity and clergy alike, to aim at making the worship of God in the earthly sanctuary more like what we may suppose it to be in that true sanctuary, more pure, hearty, spiritual and elevated, the blended symphony of reverent worshippers and ac- cordant hearts, our risen and glorified Redeemer the centre of all worship—with this only difference that here below there Ki'i.;t bj imperfection, anu confessions and^ prayers must be joined with praise, but there the service shall be only thanks-1 giving and caseless adoration. Mr. H. R. SANDBACH, Hafodunos, Uanrwst, read a paper as follows :— "The rights and duties of the laity in connection with Divine worship." Let me premise that laymen, who have beep baptized and confirmed, are as much members of the Church as the clergv and in that character have both rights and duties. In the exercise of one-of those rights, usually about this time of the vear a curious anomaly occurs. When a vestry is sum- moned to elect churchwardens, Nonconformists attend, and take part in the election. I do not complain of this anomaly, for I like to see Churchmen and Nonconformists acting to- n-ether in all matters in which they can so act, as being the most likely way to bring them into one fold, under ono shepherd. But my observations are limited to "the rights and duties of the laity in connection with Divine worship and the first point I notice is both a rights and a duty, viz., to attend Divine worship regularly, and to take that part in it, which in our Prayer-book an is allotted to "the people," making responses, and joining in tho reading of the psalms, and singing hymns. To enable the laity to do this it is very desirable, if not necessary, that the pew system should be abolished, and all sittings be free and open. It is so in most new churches, and in the restoration of decayed churches is generally a part and a very important part of the plan. There are many churches chiefly in large towns, built under what is called Peel's Act," where the stipend of the clergyman is paid out of the pew rents —how in such cases are the sittings to be free ? I know a case, not in this diocese, but in Liverpool, where a clergyman being appointed to one of these churches determined with the concur- rence of the trustees and pewholders to throw all the pews open rent free. Collections are made at every service for the ex- penses of the church, and I heard him say that his stipend was more secure than before no seat was ever empty, and people only required to be educated in the habit of giving, by having the opportunity offered to them at every service. The right and the duty of laymen are often one and the same; for instance, to fill, when elected, the office of churchwarden, and to take charge of the maintenance of the fabric, and of providing all that is necessary for Divine worship but now that compulsory Church rates are abolished, how are the funds to be raised for those purposes; It must be either by voluntary rates, which I think would distribute the charge most fairly, or by collections in church, except in case of an unusual extent of repair to the building, or of additions the amount required for ordinary service, and for warming and cleaning the church is not much. But ii it be the duty of "the laity to take their part in the ser- vices of the Church, it is their right to object to the introduction of anything different from what is di- rected in the rubric. I remember the time when the clergy- man preached in his college gown—now it is rarely seen—a change of this kind is of no importance neither did I ever hear any objection to the introduction of more music into our service of than we used to have. But,when changes go beyond that, and introduce dresses and ornaments or forms and positions such as were rejected at the Reformation by our Protestant Church, and are really a mimicry of Popery, the laity have a right to object to any such introduction into the services of their Church. No changes should be introduced into a parish church without the consent of the congregation and let me add that it seems to me, the great defect of our modern Convocation, is the absence of lay representatives; and I do not think it will ever have much weight in the country until the laity are represented there, as well as the clergy as they are in the synods and general assembly in the Church of Scotland. Another duty of the laity, is to provide additional church accommodation when required, and this natur:illy falls on the landowners and wealthy residents, especially in their own parishes, on all, however, in proportion to their means. Local efforts in this direc- tion, are most liberally and judiciously helped by the great and noble Church Societies, whose head-quarters are in London, as well as by local societies in every diocese, and of all of these I think we may justly say that they act up to the apostolic precept: "That ye be not slothful, but fol- lowers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." In this diocese the difference of language sometimes creates a difficulty, and I think it is the duty of the laity to pro- vide for services both in English and Welsh, where both lan- guages are used. Here, for instance, English is the prevalent language, and all the services in the parish church are in that language, but the few who prefer Welsh are not neglected, and very near us is a new church built for the purpose, where the services are all Welsh. In such a case it would be unfair to the Welsh, and a fraud upon those who provided that church for Welsh services, if English services were substi- tuted, so long as there is a Welsh congregation. So likewise if in a parish where the majority is Welsh a new church were built for the English residents, it would be defrauding them of their rights to substitute Welsh for English services. When people build churches, and allot church-yards to them, and convey them to the Trustees of the Church, they have a right t require that they shall be retained for the purposes for which they were intended, whether Welsh or English, and that they shall be preserved for Church purposes, and not thrown open to the use of Nonconformists, to whom they have never been dedicated. At the same time the church and church-yards are open to all, whether Churchmen or Nonconformists, who submit to the rules and regulations appointed by the Church, and in most parts of the diocese, as far as I know, more Dissenters than Churchmen are buried in our church-yards with the Church services, and I have never known one case in which that was complained of as a grievance. I am well aware that I have treated this important subject most imperfectly, and I hope that those who come after me will make up for my de- ficiencies; and in conclusion I would romark that both the rights and the duties of both laity and clergy will be best pro- tected, and most cheerfully and efficiently performed, if both heartily submit themselves to that great new commandment of our blessed Lord, by which all men shall know that they are His disciples. The Rev. J. DOBELL, of Gwersyllt, road the following paper:— I suppose that, looked at in one way, this question of the rights and duties of tlie.laity in connection with Divine worship, is simply a legal question. A paper might be written on it, treating the matter as simply a question of law. In that case, one would have to consider what are the modifications of the general law that the manner of performing Divine service rests with the minister,'subject to the control of the Bishop." And a paper on the duties of the laity from a legal point of view, would be to a great extent, I should suppose, an essay on the duty of churchwardens—as it would be possible for one who had the requisite legal knowledge to deal ably with this subject as a matter of law—but for me who have not the requisite know- ledge for so treating the subject, it is necessary to take a different standpoint; and my standpoint will ba this—what will help most towards the spread of true religion in the English branch of the Church of Christ ? in other words, what will be most for the good of the English Church? It is for the good of the Church that the laity should take upon themselves, and fulfil certain duties. It is for the good of the Church that the laity should be treated by the clergy as possessing certain rights. What are those duties ? What are those rights: The first duty of the laity in connection with Divine Worship would seem to be a regular and punctual attendance at Divine Worship and from this duty of the laity there follow certain rights of the laity. I don't say that they are of necessity legal rights, bat such as a clergyman who is anxious for the true good of the Church will do well to recognize as rights. If then there is to be a regular and punctual attend- ance at Divine Worship, it foll,nTs :-1. That each parishioner has a right to have a sitting in the Church, not a pew of course, but sitting room and I need not point out here how good a thing it is that the seats in our Churches should be free. 2. That the parishioners have a right to have the services at such times of the day as they can come. 3. That they have a right to have the services in such a language as they can umlerstantl and 4. That if they are to be punctual in their attend- ance, the services ought to begin punctually. Then as to the service itself, what is the end and aim of every service; It should be this-to increase true spiritual religion in the hearts of all who are in church. A service should lift the hearts of all the congregation somewhat nearer to God should raise the thoughts of all up to heaven—should help all who are in church to walk in the heavenward way. And a service which is to do this, must be a reverent service, a real service of devotion to God, a hearty and earnest service. This a service must be if it is to be a real help heavenward. Well, the laity have a right to have such a service as this and more, it is their duty to have such a service as this. Here the right and the duty go together. The congregation have a right to the help of a devout and hearty service; but no one person can make the service of a congregation devout and hearty. It is the duty of the congregation, all and each, to make the service such. To begin with, no service can be reverently performed in church unless all things connected with it are done decently and in order;" and there are many unavoidable expenses connected with the doing of these things decently and in order. One plain duty of the congregation, then, is to provide for the expenses connected with the Church services, and so to lay the foundation on which a devout and hearty service may be raised. Again, there cannot be a really earnest service unless there be perfect order kept in the church-it is plain, then, that those who wish for such a service should interest themselves in the keeping of order by others, and not only so, but should set an example of ordeiliness themselves. And now to come to the actual words of the service, in which the clergyman takes a lead- ing part, I weuld say, firet, that the congregation have a right to hear the service distinctly, that the right of the congregation to a real aHd devout service involves the careful and distinct saying of the service by the clergyman that there should be nothing like slovenliness in his utterance of the words of the service—but that he should take his leading part in the service by saying the words distinctly, reverently, earnestly, so as (to quote the words of the Book of Nehemiah) to "give the sense and to cause them to understand the reading." To the clergy- man belongs the important task of leading the service, finfl it is the risdlt of thR 1 nif,V th.ifc he shnnlrl 11>'1 (1 ,> reverently. They cannot have a reverent service if he does not lead it reverently. They may indeed fail to come up to the standard of reverence which he sets but they cannot well go beyond that standard of reverence. It is important to them, then, and may fairly be considered a right of the laity, that he should lead the service reverently and earnestly. But, given that, how much then depends on whether the rest of the congregation fulfil their part, how large a share of the making of ahearty service falls to the duty of the laity. The responses for instance, surely if we are to have reverent services such as I speak of, these should be said and said with real earnestness by the congregation. You can't have a thoroughly helpful service without that—without that a service is but a maimed and imperfect one. There is a story told of a somewhat eccentric clergyman whose name I do not know, who went to a neighbouring church to till the place of the vicar thereof at the Sunday services. He was surprised to find that no one in the church, literally no one, joined in the saying of the responses, he found this very trying, but he went on with his part of the service until he came to the Apostles'Creed, he began with the words I believe in God the Father Almighty," and no one joined in the words, he looked round, he began again more distinctly, I believe in God the Father Almighty," still no one joined. Once more after another stop, he began the words, "I believe in God the Father Almighty," but no one even yet joining in the words, he turned to the congregation and said, Is there no one else in this church who believes in God the Father Almighty No doubt it was a thing altogether irregular that he should say that, but perhaps it was not more irregular than it was for the congregation not to have joined in the words at all. Do what he might, that could not be a really hearty and helpful service, because they did not take their part in making it so. It is plainly the duty of the whole congregation to lend their part towards making it a real service of worship, of prayer and praise, by joining in the responses, in the saying of the Amens, and in the singing. No doubt all are not equally gifted with powers of singing. And so the help of some who have a special aptitude for singing is needed in the choir to lead the singing of the congregation. But let it not be 0 thought that the choir are chosen to represent the congregation and to sing instead of them. Let it be remembered that" for a service of congregational worship it is needful that all should join, the choir only acting as leaders of the rest. And here 1 would say that it is a very good thing for the congregation, such of them as can, to attend the choir practices. They would, lam sure, always be welcome at the practices of the choir, ancl would by coining there learn to take their part the better in the musical portion of the Church services. And I would add (while I am on the subject of the music of the Church) that it is no smnll help in our Church services if there is someone in the parish besides the regular organist who has learnt the Church music, and is able to supply the organist's place when, as must occasionally happen he is away. I would point it out as a good useful piece of Church work for those who have time and incli- nation, that some one in the parish should qualify himself or herself by practice for the post of occasional organist. Another matter of Church work which is very useful is the decoration of the church at our great festivals. More important, perhaps, than it seems, for what catches the eye goes quicker to the heart than what catches the ear. But on this piece of Church work I will not speak longer now. And now to come to the sermon. In a really hearty and reverent service, such as I have been thinking of, it is no unimportant part that the sermon should be a really helptul sermon, a sermon of spiritual help to the congregation, helping their thoughts heavenward, helping their steps to walk towards heaven. Imagine a congregation who have been entering heart and soul into a reverent service up to the sermon, and then—all ready to hear an earnest, helpful word, but instead of that-condemned to laten to a hard controversial sermon, with no heart a it, or to a sharp clever sermon with no religion in it, or, perhaps, worst of till, to one of those sermons which show in every fconc a conviction that the sermon itself is the one great thing wliicti vhe congregation have come togetherfor. I think it is not too much to say that the congregation have a right to he?.r really helpful! 1 sermons-sermons which will carry on the' helpful work done to the soul by its ihate in a devout and earnest service. But if this be a right of the laity, does it not follow also that where the clergyman haio done his best to prepare a sermon of real spiritual help, it is the duty of the congregation to give him their attention, and to try to let themselves be helped by the words which he has to say. Of the Holy Communion I will say briefly twa things—1. That our Church has laid it down as one of the duties of the laity in connection with Divine worship that they shall receive the Holy Communion three times a year at least; and, 2, I would say that such a hearty and reverent service as I have spoken of should lead up to a reverent partaking in the Holy Communion, and not, as is sometimes the case, after what one hopes has been a reverent service, to the greater part of the congregation quitting the church, and leaving a few only behind them to take up the service, thus broken as it were in two, a few only to offer their Eucharistic prayers and praise to God. Two other duties of the laity are enjoined in the Prayer Book. I will only just mention them now perhaps someone else may take them up at greater length. 1. At the end of the Catechism, where it is ordered that all shall cause their children, servants and apprentices to come to the church to be catechized and 2, at the end of the Catechism, in the paragraph next to the above, where this often neglected duty is enjoined, that every one who is confirmed shall have a godfather or a godmother with them, as a witness of their confirmation. A few words now about the disputos which arise sometimes in parishes with regard to Divine service, the disagreements between the so-called High Church and Low Church parties. It sometimes happens (and I would beg as earnestly as I know how that what I say ba not taken as said in a party spirit), it sometimes happens that a clergyman comes to a church where the services have been somewhat carelessly per- formed, and wishes to improve them, or it may be that as years go by he thinks of doing something which will add reverence aud heartiness to the service or it may be that he is asked by some of his parishioners for an alteration in the service. It seems to me that under these circumstances the' laity have the following rights: They have the right to be consulted about the proposed change; whether they should be consulted formally or not in a parochial council I am not sure. The difficnltv to my mind about the parochial councils is that it seems not unlikely that the men who would come to the front in those councils would not really represent the opinion of the parish. I could easily imagine a case where the current of opinion in parochial council would run one way, while the general opinion of the parish went the other. But, be that how it may, it seems to be a right fairly to be expected by the laity that any proposed change in the services should be talked over and discussed with them. F urther, they have the right, it is for the good of the Church that they should have the right of knowing that their clergyman is one whom they can trust, of knowing that he deserves their confidence—it is their right that he should think for all and care for all in his congregation. They should know that he will fairly weigh and consider the feelings of all his parishioners before he makes any change, and that when he does make a change, it will be for the sake of pro- moting true "spiritual religion. If those are the rights of the laity, it is, surely, a corresponding duty of the laity to trust their clergyman, to give him their confidence, to be reluly fairly and reasonably to consider anything which he proposes for the good of the parish, to be willing not to hamper him in doing what he can for the spread of true religion-of coure, there must befsomo slight differences of opinion among a number of people. Many men, many minds," says the old proverb, and so it must be. The worst of it is that, in these Church questions, it often happens that matters which are not at all objectionable in themselves are objected to by one party or another, because some one, possibly some one in a remote part of England, has said that they mean something which is objectionable; and honce comes a bitter feeling of opposition to them. If a clergy- man were to be foolish enough to tell a parishioner that the reason why he turned eastward at the saying of the Apostles' Creed was not because turning was an old Church custom, a reverend practice of the Church of Christ, but because he, the clergyman, took much pains to part his back hair very neatly, and he wished the congregation to be aware of that interesting fact, we need not be surprised if that parishioner conceived a life-long disgust, not only for the reverend gentleman's back hair, but also for the practice of turning at the Creed as well. As I shall make my paper over long if I go on any further, I would only say this by way of closing it. Ut both clergy and Laity hold it to be both their right and their duty to have a really earnest, devout, and reverent service. Let the clergyman of a parish show that he- is to be trusted, let all around him feel that he is really in earnest about true spiritual religion-and let his congregation work with him in all ways that they can, in a spirit of godly union and concord, for the good of the Church and for the glory of God. Let the Church services be, by the joint help of clergy and laity, such that the hearts of all the congregation prevent may be lifted heavenward, nearer and nearer to God; and then, to quote St. Paul's words, If there should come into your Church one that believeth not, he will be convinced of all, and falling down on his face, he will worship God anil report that God is ia you of a truth." Mr. TRETHEWT, Llanrwat, spoke against the prescrip- tive appropriation of seats in Churches, and in favour of free and open seats. He also said he thought the laity had a right to expect that the services of the Church should be conducted according to the ritual laid down in the Prayer Book, and that the service should not be hurried through in a loose or careless manner. He had heard a clergyman boast of the short time in which he could run through, as he called it, morning prayer. The laity had also a right to be protected against extreme .Ritualistic practices, and to hear from the pulpit pure evangelical truths. He rejoiced, however, that there wos room for various schools of thought in the Church. The laity had a right to a voice in the mode in which the worship was conducted in their pariah church, and that the clergyman should always, as far as possible, consult the wishes of the majority of his congrega- tion, especially of his communicants. The clergyman was often a little too autocratic. Nothing tended to give the laity a greater interest in Church matters than to know that their opinions were consulted. (Cheers.) Mr. Trethewy then spoke of the duties of laymen, amongst which, he said, was that of taking a derout and reveren- tial part in the services of the Church. Another duty of the laity was to assist the clergyman in his parish work, and sometimes in the services of the Church, as, for instance, by reading the lessons. (Cheers.) The Kev. E. SMART said it WAF astonishing the great amount of misapprehension whieff existed as to the ques- tion they had for consideration. Not very long ago a gentleman, who he believed was a good Churchman, had said to him that if it were not for the language he would go and worship at the chapel rather than at the church. He was most astonished to hear this, and asked the gentle- man why, and the latter replied that it was because he had no authority, no power at all in his church. That gentleman, he supposed, had thought to have much greater power in the chapel than in the Church. He could not help thinking that very little was known of the rights of the laity, because he maintained that there was no country in the world in which they had so important a part in the work of the Church as in our own land. (Hear, hear.) In the case of a young man, if any one knew any reason why he should not be presented by the Bishop, he had a right to step forth and object, and the Bishop specially exhorted them to appeal to him if they knew anything which should prevent ordination. He considered this an answer to the charge that laymen were not consulted in the choice of those entering the Church. There was also the churchwarden elected by every parish as its representative, and it was absolute folly for any layman to say that he had no authority when they bad a layman elected, whose duty it was to look after the clergy. Laymen might just as well say they had no political power because they did not sit in the House of Commons. They had a political power and they exercised it, and so they did by the election of a warden. If it failed it was not the fault of the system, but of the laity who failed to exercise it. Every layman had a right to the ministrations of the Church during life, and after death he had a right to be buried in the churchyard of the parish where he died. The day previously a gentleman had "given it" the clergy; he should like to return the compliment on that occasion—(laughter)—and to tell them that the laity also had duties. There were many truths which went home, but he had received the accusations in very good part, and was pleased that a layman had the pluck to make them. (Hear, hear.) He asked who were the Church but all the laity except the clergy, of whom there were not above twenty thousand. It was the duty of the laity to be consistent in their conduct and in their attendance at church. He had known of a gentleman ex- cusing himself from attending a vestry meeting fixed at an hour convenient for the whole parish on the ground that it was his dinner hour. (Laughter.) They wanted money and they looked to the laity for it; they did not get the amount they had a right to expect. He considered it a subject for complaint that many did not give ade- quately to the offertories in church. A friend of his had seen a most beautifully dressed lady, looking as if dressed by that "Madame Thingumbob"—(loud laughter)—in London, and from whom he had of course expected a cheque, put in one halfpenny. (Laughter.) They asked the laity to exercise their duty, and to give so as to keep the house in a state of order worthy of its high object. He hoped that Conference would have the effect of stirring up the laity who were rather backward in their duties. (Applause.) The Rev. J. ROWLAND, of Hope, said that if the laity had exercised their unquestionable rights they would not have heard so much of late years of that lawlessness in the Church, which had strengthened the hands of her bitterest enemies. The laity ought to be consulted before any change was made in the mode of conducting public worship, and no novel practices should be introduced againt the wishes of the main body of the congregation. If the Church of England was to continue the Church of the nation, the rights of her lay members must be fully claimed by them- selves, and cheerfully conceded by the clergy. (Cheers.) But the laity had responsibilities as well as privileges. In some churches the laity seemed dead to all exhortations to prayer, and invitations to praise. Then it was the duty of every member of the Church to give according to his means, with a liberal hand. Many parochial institutions were positively crippled for want of funds. Many wealthy Churchmen did not give anything like a fair pro- protion of their means. The Nonconformists put them to shame in that respect. Would that every member of the Church realized that he was God's steward, and that it was required of stewards that a man be found faithful. (Cheers.) Mr. FKOST, after apologizing to the meeting for ventur- ing as a comparative novice to address such an assembly of experienced and learned men, said he wished to protest against the phrase, "the rights of the laity." They heard a great deal too much about rights in these day.?. It was all very well for political agitators to talk about the rights of the working classes, but the very word "rights," as used in that sense, was contrary to the spirit of Chris- tianity. They might look from one end of the Bible to the other in vain for any such use of the word. Our Lord never said a word about his rights. The 7 ews would have said they were defending their rights and the old creed of their fathers, when they cried out, "Crucify fliin Crucify Him In the coursejof his speech, Mr. Frost contended that no changes should be introduced by a clergyman in opposition to the wishes of a majority of his congregation. A clergyman had no right to place an un- necessary stumbling block in the way of even a single member of his congregation. The clergy ought always to be guided by expediency. (Oh, oh.) They ought to defer .to the majority not because it was powerful, but in Christian charity and love. (Cheers.) The Rev. D. Ev.v.vs, Abergele, said he had been asked what was the good of that Conference, and he had replied to the best of his ability. Heriowknewat anyratethat it was good as a ventilating shaft or safety valve. (Laughter.) They had heard a great deal about Convocation, and that it would not answer any purpose until the laity went there. He said by all means admit the laity to Convocation, but let the clergy be elected to the House of Commons. (Hear, hear). He spoke from a Welsh point of view, and their friends in England could know nothing of the diffi- culties the clergy had to contend with in the Principality Their greatest difficulty was the bi-lingual difficlulty-they had to be Wilberforces in the morning and John Eliases in the evening. (Laughter.) They had to be well up in both languages, and it was often forgotten that it was as great a difficulty to aajuire the language he was speaking in as the hie, haec, hoc, or "o, e to," had been to him. (Hear,hear.) The upper portion of the community in Wales did not understand the langmge of the people, and could not be astked to assist the clergyman in visiting the poor, and in other ways. In the Sunday school the difficulty came in again. But it toM in more ways than one they had double in everything except pay. (Laughter.) It was not too much to say that that was the cause to a cer- tain extent of the failure of the Church in Wales. It was not so much the differences of High Church and Low Church, but it was stagnation. They wanted the spur more than the curb, as a. JOule, and, like Bala Lake, any- thing would suit the Church but stagnation. He com- plained that the laity did not come forward to claim and exercise their duties. How many of the laity present took classes in the Sunday school ? He held up to them Non- conformists as an example in this respect. It was part of their duties, and he hoped they would mme forward and assist the Church in the Sunday school. They must sup- port it. Let them show him a parish with a real Sunday school, and he would show them a parish where there was life, and real work doing for God and His Church. (Cheers.) Mr. TREYOR PARKIXS supported the proposal to estab- lish Parochial Councils, appointed partly by the incumbent aud partly by the congregation. He did not think a single Churchwarden in a parish at all an adequate representative of the laity. (.Cheers.) The discussion then closed. VOTES OF THANKS. On the motion of the PRESIDENT, the thanks of the Con- ference were unanimously voted to the Rev. G. H. Wilkinson, Vicar of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, for his admirable sermon of the previous day. Lord Powis, in proposing a vote of thanks to the Bishop for his presidency over the Conference, said that they were indebted to his Lordship's concurrence that they had assembled as a corporate and representative body. He trusted that the proceedings of those two days had been as satisfactory to the Bishop as they had been to all of them. (Cheers.) The Diocese of St. Asaph could not boast of any very large population, but there was no rose without its thorns, and they had their special difficulties. There was the geographical difficulty. They had very- large districts divided by high hills, and parishes- in which the parish church was often the least accessible place. They had one water shed tending to Shrewsbury and another to Chester, and when they wished to unite themselves together, they had to sink their national pride and cross the border into England. (Hear, hear.) Being a bit of a Salopian, they would allow him to contrast that scrambling district with the rich and compact county of Salop, with Shrews- bury situated at its centre, and railways to it"from every part of the county. There was no place in the county from which they could not get to the centre within two hours. What great social advantages and facilities for civil or ecclesiastical business this gave the in- habitants of the county; but the inhabitants of the valley of the Severn, from Welshpool to Llan- idloes, could not hope to be in connection with the valley of the Dee or the Clwyd. Then they had the bi- lingual difficulty which they would all of them feel if they had been obliged to address that Conference in the morning in English, and in the evening in French or Latin. That difficulty was of course aggravated by the decay of the Welsh language. It was well known that a language decayed fastest amongst the educated classes, and it was therefore increasingly difficult to get men who were skilled in the two languages. These various difficulties, n" geographical and bi-lingual, made it the more necessary to supply the wants of the diocese by individual efforts, and to show the elasticity of the voluntary system side by side with the more stately formalities of the Establish- ment. He hoped that if the Conference met again some three years hence Mr. Smart would be able to give the laity a better title than that of purse holders," and that was "purse openers." (Cheers and laughter.) He begged to offer in their name their most hearty thanks to the Bishop for having convened, taken a part in, and pre- sided over their Conference. (Loud cheers.) Captain MYTTON seconded. the vote of thanks, which was unanimously adopted. The BISHOP, in reply, said that it being new ground and new work to him, it was not without some apprehension that he looked forward to that Conference, but he was extremely glad and thankful to have had the opportunity of attending it. He was extremely thankful for the conciliatory spirit that had been evinced by the clergy. They were aware that it was in Wales that the burial question in its present form took ita rise, and he was almost inclined to tJUnk that at that Conference a key note had been struck which would very likely bring about a final and satisfactory settlement of that question. (Cheers.) With regard to the admis- sion of the laity into Convocation, he had always seen the difficulty arising from the fact that it could not be done without the interference of Parliament; but be was thoroughly convinced that it would tend greatly to the interests of the Church of England that the laity should be admitted freely to the councils of the Church. (Cheers.) In reference to the discussion of the previous evening, he was extremely thankful to find in the lay mind such an aptitude to discuss questions of that nature. The Bishop then testified to the liberality of the laymen of the diocese in regard to church restoration. He did not think there were many dioceses in England where the work of church restoration had gone on more rapidly and satisfactorily, and he thanked the Chancellor of the Diocese for having brought the whole weight of his office to bear in favour of the adoption of the system of the free and open seats. (Cheers.) He was very glad they had re-appointed the Committee, who had managed everything so admirably in connection with that Conference, to make arrangements for the future Conferences. (Cheers.) He regarded it as the duty and.privilege of the clergy to con- sult their parishioners, and he was thankful to say that there were laymen in his Diocese whose counsel and good advice he had again and again benefited by. (Cheers.) Mr. STANLEYLEIGHTON, M.P., then proposed "that the thanks of this meeting be given to the Chairman, Mr. Howell Evans, and the honorary secretary, Mr. Trevor Parkins, of the General Committee." In the course of his remarks Mr. Leighton made some playful allusions to Mr. Trevor Parkins's bell-to the nervousness and terror it excited in the speakers, and the gratitude with which it inspired the audience. He said there was a rumour afloat that Mr. Trevor Parkins was so well pleased with the success of his bell that he intended to propose at the next Diocesan Conference, that amongst the rights and duties of the laity should be that of going to church with one of those bells in their pocket. (Much laughter.) Lord HARLECH, in seconding the vote of thanks, said he believed that had it not been for Mr. Trevor Parkins that Conference would never have taken place, and to that gentleman and Mr. Howell Evans the success of that Con- ference had been mainly due. The vote of thanks having been carried unanimously, it was briefly acknowledged by Mr. HOWELL EVANS and Mr. TREVOR PARKINS, who both expressed themselves as more than repaid by the success of the Conference for the trouble they had taken. Colonel LOVETT proposed a vote of thanks to the local committee and its hon. secretary, Rev. E. J. Rees, for the successful arrangements made for the Conference, and the hospitality shown by the inhabitants of Oswestry and its neighbourhood, and to the Nonconformists who had opened their houses for the reception of members. (Cheers.) The Rev. Canon HUGH JONES, in seconding the vote of thanks, stated that no fewer than 130 houses in Oswestry had been opened for the reception of members of the Con- ference. They were very much indebted to the local committee, and especially to Mr. Rees, for the successful arrangements made for the Conference, and to the inhabi- tants of Oswestry and its neighbourhood, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, for the great hospitality they had so readily extended to its members. (Cheers.) The Rev. E. J. REES having acknowledged the vote of thanks, the Doxology was sung, and the Bishop having pronounced the Benediction the first Diocesan Conference for the diocese of St. Asaph was brought to a close. Collections were made in the Church and at the Confer- ence meetings to defray the necessary expenses. The total sum collected was S58 14s. 4|d. On Friday also a luncheon was provided for the members of the Conference, and visitors, at the Victoria Rooms, by Mr. Drew, of the Wyjonstay Arms. Lord Powis presided.