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JQA Diary, volume 30 28 July 1816


Neal Millikan Religion Health and Illness

28. VIII: Our Breakfast hour was this morning so late that on going to attend Church at Ealing, I found the Clock at forty minutes past eleven— As it begins precisely at eleven, it was too late for attendance at the Morning service. I came home, and attended in due Season at the service of the afternoon.— Prayers for the seventh Sunday after Trinity were read by Mr Carr, and with them the Prayer for fair weather— This prayer has been prescribed in this Country, and a similar prayer has been ordered in France. The Sermon was preached by Mr Warry, from Philippians IV:4. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice.” The prayers of the afternoon service are read in forty minutes— The sermon about twenty— The Morning prayer, with the Litany and the portion of the Communion which is read every Sunday, usually takes one hour— Many of the prayers of the Church of England are very good; but others are susceptible of reformation— The repetition of the same prayer four or five times in one service, even though it be the Lord’s Prayer, is more tedious than edifying— The collect of the day is always read twice in the morning, and once in the afternoon service.— If regular forms of prayer should be used at all, in public worship, they should be drawn up with so much variety that no one prayer should be twice read on the same day. The only use that I can perceive in the perpetual variations of posture, kneeling, standing and sitting, is its tendency to guard the auditory from falling asleep. The part which the People take in the reading of the service may have the same effect, but in practice it falls into a mere mechanical operation. Sometimes the People, repeat over the Priests words, immediately after him; sometimes as in the Litany and Communion they come in with an ejaculation at the close of each supplication which he reads—and sometimes as in reading the Psalms, the Te Deum &c. the Priest and People alternate with each other, he reading one verse and they the next— In all these cases the part read by the People is and must be, like the chattering of monkies; a chaos of confused, inarticulate sounds. The only predominant effect upon the ear is that of a canting whine. For however well the clergyman may read his part, the Clerk, and parish boys and girls the only persons who actually answer for the People, read it and can read it no otherwise. It often happens that the Priest or People, or both are impatient to get through, and then they encroach upon each other’s time; so that while the People are reading one verse of a Psalm, the Priest is reading the next; or while they are saying Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our Hearts to keep this Law, he is reading the next Commandment— This occurs in a striking manner here, when Dr Bond reads the service; though he himself affects to be a reader of the first order— But it is a very common fault. The attendants at Church generally do not join in reading aloud the People’s part— Many of them also dispense with kneeling, in- 43instead of which they sit, so that the prayers intended to be marked with the greatest reverence, are attended with the least— There are two odd usages at the English Church service, which I have observed in no other Country—one is that every person kneels or puts himself in an attitude as if he was saying a private prayer of his own, for about half a minute— The men generally stand, and hold their hats up before their faces—whisper a prayer into their hats— The other is a slight genuflexion, or bowing of the head, at the naming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the creed.— A sign of worship never shewn at the name of the father or of the Holy Ghost— The Church this afternoon was thin— Dr Nicholas’s family were there, having returned from their visit to Monmouthshire. My wife has been troubled with a cough, from the morning after the Duke of Gloucester’s wedding— The Princess immediately after the Ceremony had a faint turn— The window and the door behind her were thrown open, while the heat in the room was excessive. This must have occasioned Mrs Adams’s cough, for which she was this day bled, and did not go out. We walked in the Garden after dinner.