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he established, and which have since his death been supported through the liberality of that munificent lady Mrs. Bevan, he gave an impulse to religious principles and feelings in the principality, which is destined to tell to the end of time. During his ministry appeared the great orator of Wales, the immortal Rowlands of Llangeitho. He stood unrivalled in his profession. When he used to address an audience after another man, or as a second preacher, it being customary for two to preach in succession in the principality, it is said by one who well knew him, “ that however excellently the one who had preceded him might have preached, Rowlands would, in ten minutes, say what in substance, solidity, and magnificence, as well as in effect on the hearers, far exceeded all that had been previously delivered." The late Rev. David Griffith of Nevern, used to say of him, “ that he preached from every text better than any other man.” He, and a host of kindred spirits, carried on that revival in religion which had been commenced by Griffith Jones, and which has considerably changed the character of the inhabitants of the principality. This leads me to consider the state of religion amongst us, and the religious aspect of the Welsh Nation at the present time.
The ESTABLISHED RELIGION of the country being the Church of England, it is unnecessary to give an analysis of the principles taught and inculcated within her pale, as they are well known through her articles and liturgy. Most of the Clergy in South Wales, and many in the North, consider the articles of the Church as holding forth doctrines in unison with the views explained and defended by Calvin. In this division of the principality, however, the greater number seem to adopt the anti-calvinistic notions, which, they think, are more consonant with the principles of the Church to which they belong
The most bigoted mind must confess that the territorial division of the country into parishes, is a most convenient one for religious and civil purposes, and is a proof of the wisdom of those who originally made it. Allowing, as is inevitable, in so far as the Establishment is of human arrangement, that there are imperfections in it, yet who does not see very sound sense in the following remarks by the late Mr. Cobbett : “I was a sincere churchman, because experience had convinced me that an uniformity in the religion of my country was a most desirable thing; because it was reasonable and just that those who had neither house nor land, and who were the millions of a country, and performed all its useful labours, should have a church, a church-yard, a minister of religion, and all religious services performed for them at the expense of those who did possess the houses and land. In a word, in the church and its possessions I saw the patrimony of the working people, who had neither houses nor land of their own private property. An Established Church-a Church Establishment on Christian principles,-is this ; it provides an edifice sufficiently spacious for the assembling of the people in each parish; it provides a spot for the interment of the dead; it provides a teacher of religion to officiate in the sacred edifice, to go to the houses of the inhabitants, to administer comfort to the distressed, to counsel the wayward, to teach children their duty towards God, their parents, and their country (hence our parish schools), and particularly to initiate children in the first principles of religion and morality, and cause them to communicate, “that is, by an outward mark to become members of the Church of Christ."
Wales is divided into 844 parishes, in which there are about 1000 Churches and Chapels. Supposing the average accommodation, in each, to be for 400 persons, we have Church room for 400,000. But owing to various causes, such as the inconvenient position of the Churches, the strong antipathy of the nation to long prayers, their fondness for variety and excitement, as well as many others, we cannot calculate on more than about 200 people as the average attendance in each Church or Chapel, which will make a total of 200,000, who enjoy the instructions of the Clergy. There are about 134 Churches and Chapels in Monmouthshire, which accommodate about 55,000 people. All the National, the Infant, and the Grammar schools, are under the care of the Church. The higher classes are nearly all members of the Establishment; and though they may be firm in their attachment to it, not many of them are very zealous in its behalf. It cannot be denied that some of the finest specimens of Christian professors are to be found among the members of the Church. Great activity exists within her, at the present time, throughout the principality, and the design contemplated is the making of this most important institution more efficient, and a worthy branch of the Church in England, respecting which, Lord Brougham and Lord John Russell have asserted, that it is the finest Establishment in Christendom. Undoubtedly the venerable fabrics require to be renovated, as the hand of time has given them, in many places, a most cheerless appearance. In rural districts especially this is the case. Many a farmer's barn is in much better condition whilst Dissenting Chapels are generally good, substantial, and commodious buildings, fixed in the most convenient situations for the people, and having always a good road leading to them.
If the interests of religion in the Church have been neglected, the blame cannot properly be attached to the Clergy of the present day. They are generally attentive to the duties of their profession, and many of them are very laborious. The policy by which they are actuated, is that of benefiting the people, and not of exciting agreeable emotions in their feelings; most of them are less desirous of touching the heart than of informing the understanding.
The Clergy, by the requirement of the Church in which they officiate, are necessarily men of sound education, which they have obtained at a great expense.
And how important and well arranged is the plan, that an enlightened man, a friend, always ready to promote the good of all, and especially the poor, should be placed over a convenient tract of country, there exercising a salutary influence over the opinions and morals of the people committed to his care ! It is devoutly to be wished, however, that the Clergy of Wales were more vernacularly acquainted with the language in which they officiate. Belonging, as they generally do, to some of the higher classes, they are instructed from their infancy in the English language. Their subsequent training, at school and in College, is effected by means of the same tongue, Hence, in their pronunciation of words in general, and of scriptural proper names in particular, the English sound of letters, as well as the English accent, continually recur. But the Welsh has a simple and uniform rule of pronunciation and accentuation of its own; so that, when a foreign method is employed, violence is done to the language, and disgust is created in the minds of the people. Candidates for orders may have sufficient theoretical acquaintance with the Welsh to pass an examination, but that is a very different thing from having the power of conversing with the people in their own idiom, and according to the usual mode of pronunciation. This deficiency has operated very prejudicially to the interests of the Church. The most illiterate man in the country may be one of the first to discover the defect, and it is construed to result from contempt of the language, and that again is considered to arise from pride. But the individual who finds out the defect, is shrewd enough to say that men who derive their maintenance from their profession ought to be well acquainted with the language in which the duties of that profession are to be conducted. Indeed this disqualification is an outrage on the clerical character, in whatever point of view it may
be considered. It is an outrage on religion, reason, and common
The Welsh nation revolts against it, just as much as the English would do, if they were addressed from the pulpit
in inappropriate and garbled language, enunciated with a strong foreign pronunciation. These remarks are intended to represent a grievance which, though it affects the character of the Clergy to a very great extent, does not amount to a general charge ; for many of them are very excellent Welsh scholars, and occupy the foremost rank as poets, historians, and divines ; neither will it exceed the bounds of truth to state that there are among them a great number of very eminent preachers. The practice of reading sermons being uncongenial with Welsh taste, hence a large portion of the Clergy in South Wales, and some in the North, are extempore preachers. These by adapting the style of their address to the taste and genius of the people, are listened to with deep attention, and their parishioners flock in large assemblies to their Churches. Clerical meetings are generally held, in the Southern division of the principality, and are said to have been of considerable service both to the Clergy and the people. It should be borne in mind that the animated and popular style of preaching used by Dissenters, has been one of the chief means by which the people have been withdrawn from the church; and if ever they are expected to return, it can only be achieved by that most important ordinance of the Almighty, the preaching of his truths in such a way as to tell on the heart of the audience. If, on the contrary, the ministration of God's word, in the only way in which it will be received by the population, be contemned and discouraged, what will become of the Established Church in Wales ? Dissenters will continue to lengthen their cords, and Dissent will reign over the whole of the principality.
THE METHODISTS OF THE WesleyAN PERSUASION are not a very numerous body of people in Wales. They commenced here at a much later period than in England; but of late years they have been making rapid progress in different parts of the country, particularly in the North. They entertain the religious sentiments taught by the celebrated founder of