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and the houses in places far apart, with vacant | appeared. Seeing a keen-looking youth sitting ground between. The best part of the city had on a tilted chair at the door of a clothes'-shop, been almost entirely destroyed.
I inquired whether he could direct me to one. I walked on till I reached the shore of the “Don't go to church myself, but guess that is lake, and then turned north toward what seemed one with the steeple, 'long second block." I to be an untouched part of the town, where a spire went to it; it was a school. I next tried the or two indicated, as I hoped, the existence of proprietor of a tobacco-store. Can't tell," was churches. After a fatiguing walk of half a mile his reply ; " better ask M'Alister, ten doors up my progress was stopped by a river, the bridges street,-hear say he runs a church." I went on over which were all in ruins. I then set out in search of M'Alister, wondering what could be westward, keeping as near the river as possible. meant by running a church. I found the name Ere long I got almost hopelessly entangled in “M'Alister, Draper," in large letters over a
I ” the ruins. Fortunately I discovered a solitary shop, with a Highlander in full costume above policeman, and asked him if he could show me the door; but the shop was shut. It was the to a church.
first I had yet seen shut; and I inferred the “What koind iv a church would yer honour tobacconist was right, and that M'Alister must want ?” he answered, in a rich Cork brogue. have something to do with a church. He was no
“When did you come from the old country ?” use to me now, however, and I turned round said I.
disappointed, scarcely knowing what to do. I It'll be seventeen years come Midsummer.” observed a gentleman close to me; he had evi
And is this all America has done for you dently been following in my path, for he asked in that time?”
what kind of a church I desired to go to. I “Faix, yer honour, an' I had a daycent said Presbyterian. “Come, then, with me," he
. house, an' a thrivin' business, an' Aileen an' replied; and I was delighted to find anybody the gossoons wur gettin' on foinly ; but the big who seemed to care for religion. In a quarter foir cum, an' didn't lave uz a dollar or a dollar's of an hour more I was seated in the central aisle worth. Ugh, surely it wus the judgment o’ of a spacious and elegant church. Gad on a wicket city; for the loikes of Chicago for gamin' an' drinkin', an' worse, - far, far
A CHICAGO CHURCH. worse, yer honour, -I nivir saw; no, nor nobody. It still lacked some twenty minutes to the If they wur haythens they couldn't be worse. hour of service, and I had thus time to examine ...... But how's the ould country, yer hon- at leisure the style and arrangements of the our ?”......
building. The style was a kind of florid Gothic. IIe told me I was two miles from a church ; largely modified, however, so as to suit the simand as the day had now become intensely hot, plicity of Presbyterian worship, and also, as it with a western gale, scorching as an Eastern appeared to me, the peculiar taste of the archisirocco, driving clouds of dust and sand in one's tect. The form of the house was oblong, with face, he advised me to take a car ; and then he side and end galleries. The roof was of open led me through an underground passage, and timber, but gorgeously painted, somewhat like over heaps of ruins, to a street which the fire the mosques of Damascus. The pulpit was an had not touched. There I found a tramway, open ornamental desk, set upon a broad platform, which took me to a new part of the city. I was and having on each side a porcelain vase filled surprised to see the shops open, and business with choice flowers. Behind the gallery, frontgoing on apparently with as much briskness as ing the pulpit, was a deep recess for the organ if it had been a week-day. The Sabbath rest and choir. The pews were luxuriously carpeted seemed to be ignored, except, indeed, by the and cushioned. Everything, in fast, seemed crowds of idlers who lounged round the drink- fitted to secure the greatest possible elegance ing-saloons, and at the street corners.
and comfort. True, the bright colours, tne emI walked on for half a mile, but no church | blazoned texts of Seripture over the platform,
and the gay painting of walls, gallery, and roof, | mind by the discourse was, that the views enterstruck one as being not quite in harmony with tained in Chicago upon great Scripture doctrines our staid ideas of ecclesiastical architecture and must be very hazy indeed, if that was a fair ornament. The gorgeous tints and gilding specimen of them. would, in my opinión, have suited a modern I did not care for spending much time in my drawing-room better than a house of worship.hotel, so I dined at a restaurant, and went back Still every country has a style of its own; and to the same church in the evening. It was again why should not America invent a new one ? filled with a fashionable audience. The lectureThat in Chicago was undoubtedly new.
evidently one of a series — was upon the character As the hour approached the people flocked in. of Moses as a lawgiver. The portraiture was good It was manifestly a fashionable church. Those and graphic; and the description of Israel in the who worshipped in it seemed to be exclusively, wilderness, led and governed by Moses, was drawn or nearly so, of the wealthier classes ; and their to life, and manifestly by one who had visited the dresses corresponded to the magnificence of the
But the part in which the preacher building. Ere the bell ceased tolling every seat excelled was his comparison of the Mosaic adwas occupied, and many stood in the aisles. ministration with the state of affairs in the country The minister entered from a side door, ascended generally, and Chicago in particular. He gave the platform, and took his seat on a sofa. He a sad picture of the corruption of government; was a little man, with no appearance of in- and he denounced in no measured terms both tellectuality ; without gown, bands, white cravat, electors and elected. He affirmed broadly that or other mark or indication of clerical status. to ignore all religion was now a necessary qualiThe moment he sat down the choir commenced fication for office. The whole discourse was an anthem. It was grand. I have seldom pungent and eloquent; and some of the descripheard anything superior. The organ was a
tions of the nature of home rule were absolutely noble instrument, and the vocal part was scathing. The audience seemed to enjoy it, and rendered with remarkable power and pathos. to believe, as well as one could judge from smilIt was, of course, only a performance. Few ing faces and approving nods, that it was richly seemed to know the words; and none dared to deserved. Such a style of pulpit oratory was join in the music. One would no more think new to me, whatever it may be in America. I of doing so, than of joining in an oratorio in the bad never heard anything approaching it before. Albert Hall. The devotional exercises were It reminder one of the fiery words of Elijah to much after the model of the Old Kirk of Scot- Ahab and Jezebel. Possibly, it may do good; land, only the prayers were shorter, and the but in my mind a gentler strain of reproof, and hymns different. The subject of the sermon a fuller exposition of the eternal principles of was professedly a defence of the inspiration of New Testament morality, peace, and love, would Scripture, which, the preacher told us, was be far more likely to be efficacious. now called in question by large numbers within It would be manifestly unfair, however, to the Church. He began his defence by the some- judge the pulpit ministrations of Chicago, or
, what singular admission that he did not contend even of that one church in it, by the services of a for plenary inspiration, or the infallible accuracy of single Sunday. Doubtless, like most other great the entire Bible. That he seemed to think an cities in the United States, it has among its exploded theory, which no thoughtful man would clergy-indeed, I now know it has—men of now renture to advocate. On the positive side talent and wisdom. But it is admitted on all of the question he was not so clear. I tried in hands, and, indeed, it is clear to every man who vain to gather what he did contend for. On will walk the streets with his eyes open, and look the whole, I felt that it might have been just as at the crowded whisky-saloons, and the gambling well for his audience, and perhaps better for houses, and the glaring Sunday traffic and work, the Bible, had he not taken up the question at that Chicago, whatever else it may be, is not a
The only strong impression left upon my religious city. Never in any part of the world
not even in Turkey-have I witnessed, so far as that all the public schools of Chicago are opened external appearance goes, such absolute disregard with devotional exercises, a portion of Scripture of all religious form. No doubt the fire has being read. greatly disorganized society, and destroyed many churches, and left many homeless and struggling;
FAREWELL TO CHICAGO. but it might at the same time have led the people There was little inducement for a stranger to to see that immortal beings have higher andlinger in Chicago. It does not possess one single nobler aims than the indulgence of degrading attractive feature. It is built on the flat shore passions and the acquisition of wealth.
of Lake Michigan, and as close as possible to the
water's edge, as if there were no space behind. PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The country around it is one unbroken plain, The public school system of Chicago appears mostly prairie, iņ whose vastness nearly all the to be under admirable management. In a city streets lose themselves. Situated in the centre growing with such amazing rapidity, and covering of a magnificent territory, with railways consuch a vast area in proportion to its population, verging from every quarter, with inexhaustible it is of course difficult to secure the requisite resources, and with a free outlet by water to the school accommodation and number of trained Atlantic, Chicago seems destined to become one teachers. The general plan, which I see ably of the greatest of American cities. advocated in one of the annual reports of the It was with a feeling of relief I left my dirty School Board, is excellent, and indeed, as far as hotel, and bade adieu to the troop of jugglers, and I can judge, the oniy efficient one. It is to have the surly landlord, who would not even condescend a series of elementary schools, of moderate size, to carry a part of my luggage down-stairs, but so located throughout the city, that they would left me to make a double journey for it myself, be accessible to the youngest children. It is while he sat astride an old stove smoking. truly said that when large bodies of children are Eastward ho! was now my watchword; and brought together into one building, the building I took my place in a Pullman for Ann Arbor and must of necessity be far distant from the houses Detroit. It was a glorious day; the atmosphere of many of them. Then it is proposed to place transparent as crystal; for a thunder-storm the an intermediate school in each district, the princi- day before had cleared away the haze. The pal of which would, at the same time, be inspec- railway skirts the southern shore of the lake, tor of the elementary schools in that district; and giving boundless views over the water on the then to place in the centre of all one great nor- left, and over the prairie on the right. Lake mal school, with requisite apparatus for instruct- Michigan passed, we struck due east across the ing in the higher branches, and for training peninsular State towards Lake Huron. It is a teachers in the practical work of school manage- rich and charming country, with hill and dale, ment. Unity would thus be given to the whole wood and river, clean villages, and tidy farmsystem, and all facilities afforded for advancing houses, and here and there a bustling, growing talented and industrious pupils to the highest town. grades. I greatly admired the furniture of the It was mid-afternoon when we reached Ann Chicago schools, and indeed of all the new schools Arbor, the seat of in the States. Each child has an isolated chair and desk, usually of cherry-wood; they are
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN. models of neatness, cleanliness, and comfort. The town is situated in a picturesque valley. The desks have slender legs of metal, which, with A rapid river winds through it, and the banks those of the chair, are screwed to the floor. Per- and heights behind are gracefully wooded. The fect freedom of action is in this way secured for university was established in 1841, to give a each pupil without disturbing others; and the higher education, on moderate terms, to the teacher has much greater facilities for observing youth of Michigan. It permits those who enter
. and checking any disorder. It is worthy of note a free choice of subjects. It has thus materially
deviated from the traditional routine of older | villas. As compared with Chicago, one observes colleges. It has what are called "parallel a staid propriety, which reminds him that he has courses," any one of which the student may escaped from a region of wild speculation, and of select. They are at present as follows the restless, sometimes reckless enterprise, and that classical, the scientific, the Latin scientific, the he has coine back within the sphere of religious Greek scientific, civil engineering, and mining life and Christian principle. engineering. While all who seek a bachelor's degree must take the regular curriculum of
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. classics, it is provided that students who do not The General Assembly of the Presbyterian desire to become candidates for a degree, may, if Church was still sitting in Detroit, and I went to qualified, pursue any study in connection with it the evening of my arrival, intending to watch any of the classes. The university is thus adapted quietly the order of procedure. I was observed, to the circumstances and requirements of a new however, and received a request from the Modercountry, where practical knowledge is needed
ator to go to the platform. When I had commore than deep scholarship. Though at present plied, he said he wished to present me to the most of its departments would only rank as a house. I stood beside him in front of the chair; superior school, yet it is doing a good work, and he mentioned my name, and immediately the it may in time attain to that status of academic whole assembly, with the public who thronged training which in Europe is looked for in all the galleries of the church, rose to their feet. universities, It is a large institution, with The scene was very impressive. Perfect silence thirty-three professors, and above a thousand was maintained as I bowed my acknowledgstudents. It is supported by the State, and is ments. I felt that a high honour had been done undenominational; but, as I stated in a previous me; for I was not a deputy, nor had I any paper, it does not exclude or ignore religion. In official position giving me the slightest claim to the report for 1870 I find the following noble notice. It was an act of Christian kindness and declaration :-“As long as the State of Michigan fraternal courtesy which I can never forget. The claims to belong to the great Christian commun- Moderator informed me that a seat would be ity, its university must insist on maintaining a assigned to me upon the platform whenever I place among Christian institutions."
might choose to attend during the remainder of
the sittings. DETROIT.
I was struck, as I had been in the Southern Detroit is about an hour by rail from Ann Assembly, by the perfect order of the house, even Arbor. The great chain of lakes forms one of during somewhat exciting debates. There was the leading features of the physical geography of no unseemly struggle for precedence; there was North America. Lakes Superior and Michigan no attempt to resist, or even to question for a fall into Lake Huron ; Lake Huron is connected moment, the ruling of the Moderator; and I did by a narrow channel, thirty miles long, with the not hear a single remark or word that could give little lake of St. Clair; and it again is joined by offence to any man. The members appear unia channel of about equal length to Lake Erie, formly to treat each other as gentlemen and whose waters, after tumbling over Niagara, enter brethren. Lake Ontario, and then gradually contract amid At the same time, however, it seemed to me the charming scenery of “The Thousand Isles," that some of the rules of debate are not adapted into the mighty St. Lawrence.
for the free discussion and full development of Upon the right bank of the river-like channel any great question. For example, all speakers, which joins St. Clair to Erie stands Detroit, one after the first two, I think, are limited to a fixed of the most attractive of American cities. The and very short time. Another rule gives each streets are wide, and the houses and shops in the member the right, when his name is called to newer parts elegant. The suburbs are laid out vote, of expressing his reasons in a speech of four with much taste, and are studded with charming minutes. No matter how powerful his arguments
or how weighty his words, he is obliged to stop Then, again, it is a common practice for a the instant the Moderator's bell rings, even congregation to make an arrangement with a though in the middle of a sentence. I saw the minister to officiate among them for two, three, rule carried out in a debate on a question con- or four years, as the case may be. At the close sidered by many of vital importance. The of the term they dismiss him, or he leaves them question was-whether a ruling elder holds office and goes elsewhere. In my opinion this seriously for life, or whether he may be elected and or- interferes with the sacredness of the pastoral tie. dained for a fixed period. The constitution of It tends also, to some extent, to introduce the the Church is to some extent involved in this; commercial element, and to make a pastor's work and, what is more, it touches the very essence of a mere matter of bargain, and thus seriously to the solemn rite of ordination. Yet, even on this lower the character and mar the usefulness of the grave point, the four minute rule was rigorously sacred office. Perhaps the nature of American carried out. I pitied some of the speakers. institutions, and the requirements of a rapidly They were deeply moved. They struggled to growing and changing population, may demand
. compress argument, and express solemn convic- some little freedom of action ; but the danger is tion, within the given time, so as to influence that liberty degenerate into anarchy, and the their brethren. It was vain. What could be Church become entirely disorganized. Local and done in four minutes ? The tinkle of the temporary success, however great it may be, and Moderator's bell dissipated argument; and the though it might be attained in a number of the rapid succession of speakers prevented the possi- leading cities, will never compensate for the disbility of consecutive reasoning. I felt, as I sat organization of a great Church, and the derangeand watched and listened, that a law, which had ment of that unity of plan, and purpose, and doubtless been enacted to expedite business, and effort, which alone can accomplish a national work to prevent useless oratory and mere waste of time of evangelization. upon minor matters, was capable of being used The Presbyterian Church of the United States to fetter free discussion, and to tyrannize over has a grand field. It has a large band of laymen the consciences of others.
filled with zeal, and whose munificent liberality Presbyterianism in the United States does not is an honour to Christendom. It has ministers in all respects conform to the principles and order who for eloquence and talent are not surpassel of the Old Kirk of Scotland. It has a good deal in any Church. But it wants organization. The of the independent element in it; and in some connection between the Church courts and the cases, at least, this element is not, as I believe, theological colleges is not so well defined as to an improvement. I was surprised to learn, for secure the thorough training of candidates for instance, that many of those ministers who sat the ministry. The jurisdiction of presbyteries as delegates in the General Assembly were neither over congregations is loose, and in some cases pastors of congregations nor theological pro- little more than nominal; and the constitution fessors—the only persons who, in Scotland, have of the presbyteries themselves is unsatisfactory, a right to a seat in this supreme court. Some of for many of the clerical members -in some cases, them were schoolmasters; some editors of news- I understand, a majority-have no fixed charges. papers; some were supplying pulpits temporarily; These points, and others, require reform; ani some had no particular employment. Upon what the longer reform is delayed the more difficult ground they sat in a representative Assembly I will it become. I know that at the present niocould not discover. On close inquiry I found ment many of the most distinguished men in the that not more than a third of the ministers of Church are striving nobly to bring about needed the Presbyterian Church of the North are settled reforms, and with my whole heart I bid them pastors.