Of Behavior at the Church
In 17th century England a book entitled The School of Manners was widely circulated. It was designed as a training aid in teaching young people how to behave in various social settings. We thought you might be interested in the chapter that deals with "Behavior at the Church." Here are the instructions:
- Decently walk to thy seat or pew; run not, nor go wantonly.
- Sit where thou art ordered by thy Superiors, Parents, or Masters.
- Shift not seats, but continue in the same place.
- Lend thy place for the easing of anyone that stands near thee.
- Keep not too long a seat lent thee by another, but being eased, restore it.
- Talk not in the Church, especially in the time of prayers or preaching.
- Fix thine eye upon the minister;' let it not wildly wonder to gaze upon any person or thing.
- Attend diligently to the words of the minister; pray with him when he prayeth, at least in thy heart; and while he preacheth, listen, that thou mayest remember.
- Be not hasty to run out of the church when the worship is ended, as if thou wert weary of being there.
- Walk decently and soberly home, without haste or wantonness.
Times have changed, and some of these admonitions are not needed so much now as then. For instance, we typically have plenty of comfortable seats for all worshippers. But, I especially like instructions number 7, 8 and 9. The fact that those instructions where needed back then and are still needed today makes me think that times haven't changed that much after all!