The churches of New York are models of architectural beauty. Trinity, Grace, the Temple EMANUEL, and the new Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, are the handsomest religious edifices in America. Catholics and Episcopalians no longer have all the magnificent churches, for the other denominations are following hard in their footsteps.

Nearly all the churches of the city are above Fourth street, and in some localities they crowd each other too greatly. A few are very wealthy and are well supported, but the majority are poor and struggling. Pew-rent is very high in New York, and only those who are well off can afford to have seats in a thriving church. Besides this, people seem to care little for churches in New York. There are thousands of respectable people in the great city who never see the inside of a church, unless some special attraction draws them there. The entire support of the churches, therefore, falls on a few.

The fashionable churches, with the exception of Grace Church, are now located high up town. They are large and handsome, and the congregations are wealthy and exclusive. Forms are rigidly insisted upon, and the reputation of the church for exclusiveness is so well known that those in the humbler walks of life never dream of entering its doors. They feel they would be unwelcomed, that nine tenths of the congregation would consider them unfit to address their prayers to the Great White Throne from so exclusive a place. The widow's mite would cause the warden's face to glimmer with a well-bred smile of contemptuous amazement, if laid in the midst of the crisp bank bills of the collection; and Lazarus would lay a long time at the doors of these churches, unless the police should remove him.

Riches and magnificence are seen on every side. The music is divine, the service is performed to perfection, and the minister satisfies his flock that they are all in the "narrow way," which his Master once declared to be so difficult to the feet of the rich man. But that was eighteen hundred years ago, and things have changed since then.

                     SAINT ALBAN'S.

St. Alban's Episcopal Chapel, in Forty-seventh street, near Lexington Avenue, has of late attracted much attention as being the most advanced in the ritualistic character of its services. A writer in Putnam's Magazine, thus describes the manner in which the service is "celebrated" in this Chapel.

One bright Sunday morning, not long ago, I visited the 'Church of St. Alban.' It is situated in Forty-seventh street, near Lexington Avenue, quite beyond the business portion of the city, and is rather a plain- looking brick building, with a peaked roof, low, stained glass windows, and a bell on the gable in front, surmounted by a cross. I arrived some little time before the commencement of the services, and had an opportunity to look about a little, and note the interior arrangements. I found the church to be capable of holding about two hundred and fifty worshippers, with plain wooden benches for seats on each side of a central aisle, and every bench having an announcement posted upon it, as follows.

The seats of this church are all FREE, on the following conditions, a compliance with which is an obligation binding on each person occupying a sitting:

'I. To behave as in the presence of ALMIGHTY GOD.

'II. Not to leave the church during service; remaining until the clergy and choristers have retired.

'III. That each worshipper shall contribute, according to his ability, to the collections, which are the only means of supporting the church. The poor can give little, and are always welcome; but those who are able to give should not be willing to occupy seats (which might be availed of by others), without contributing their just share to the expenses.'

The pulpit, which is elevated only three or four steps, stands on the left-hand of the congregation, close to and in front of the vestry-room door or passage. The stalls adjoin the organ in a recess on the vestry- room side, with others facing them on the opposite side for antiphonal chanting or singing. The lectern, or stand on which the Bible is placed, for reading the lessons, is on the right side opposite the pulpit. There is no reading-desk for other parts of the service, as in most of the Episcopal churches.

The arrangements of the chancel occupy considerable space for a building no larger than this, and everything is very elaborate and ornamental. It is elevated by several steps, and inside the rails is still further raised, so as to bring the communion-table, or altar, prominently into view. This altar is very large, built against the rear wall of the church, with a super-altar, having a tall gilded cross in its centre. The decorations on the wall, and about the chancel-window, are of the most approved pattern, drawn from the highest authorities in ritualism and church decoration. These words, in beautiful old English letter, crown, as it were, the altar in St. Alban's: 'He that eateth ME, even he shall live by ME.' (John vi. 57.)

On either side of the large gilded cross, on the super-altar, is a lofty candlestick, with a candle in it, about seven feet high, or perhaps more. Four other candlesticks, not quite so tall, and four others, less lofty than these, again, are on each side of the altar by the wall; and, standing in the chancel, some little distance from the wall, on the right and left hand, are candelabras, with branches, holding some twenty candles each. None of these were lighted when I entered. Soon after, the bell having stopped ringing, the organ began a voluntary, on a low note, introductory to the opening of the service.

Presently, the introcessional hymn was begun, and then, emerging from the vestry-room door or passage, the first thing visible was a large wooden cross, which had to be lowered to get it through the passage, and which, when elevated, reached some six feet above the head of the small boy who carried it, and was, of course, in full view of the congregation. This boy, and others following, had on white robes, or surplices. Two of the boys carried banners, with devices, and all, with a number of adult choristers, advanced slowly towards the chancel, singing the introcessional. Last of all came the three officiating priests, or ministers, with purple-velvet, crown-shaped caps on their heads, and white garments, made like sacks, and ornamented with various colors and symbols. Profound obeisances were made towards the altar; the hymn was ended; the choristers took their places; and one of the priests, on arriving in front of the chancel-rail, began the intoning of the Litany. Morning Prayer had been said at an earlier hour.

The Litany was said as in the Episcopal Prayer Book, directly after which, notice was given that there would be a meeting of 'The Sodality of' - exactly what and whom I did not catch at the time. The priests then retired for a space, during which the two candles on the altar, and the branch candles on each side in the chancel, were lighted by a boy having a long stick, or pole, with a light on the end for the purpose. This boy passed half a dozen or more times in front of the altar, and every time made, or attempted to make, an obeisance - but it was not with any great success. The frequent repetition seemed to reduce it to little more than the 'fashionable nod.'

The introit was one of the psalms of the Psalter. While it was being chanted, the priests returned, and with lowly bowings, even to the knee, passed within the chancel and advanced to the front of the altar. The Ante-Communion was then said, the Epistle and Gospel being read by different persons. After which, notice was given of the communion, and 'a high celebration' to occur during the week. The people stood up, and remained standing, while one of the priests left the chancel, proceeded to the pulpit, and, after crossing himself, said, 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.'

The congregation being seated again, a discourse followed, about twenty minutes long, earnest in tone and manner, and with much good exhortation in it. Some of the preacher's figures were rather startling, especially when speaking of the Lord's Supper. He told his hearers of 'the bleeding hands of the Almighty,' offering them Christ's flesh to eat, and Christ's blood to drink. The homily ended with the priest's turning to the altar, and saying, 'Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.' He then went back to the chancel, where the others had been sitting, caps on, to listen to the discourse.

The plates were next passed around, and the alms, being collected, were placed on the altar. Then, from a side-table on the right, the two boys on duty in the chancel handed to the priest, the vessels containing the bread and wine, which were placed on the altar. The remaining candles were then lighted. After this, the communion service proceeded; and when the officiating priest faced the congregation, to say the exhortation, etc., one of the others, a step below him, held the book open for him to read from - thus serving, as it were, for a reading- stand. Wherever possible, the priests studiously preserved a position with their backs to the congregation. In the part of the communion service where the bread and wine are consecrated, the officiating priest said the words in silence. In like manner, when he partook of the sacrament himself, it was done in entire silence, with crossings, and the lowliest of kneeling, and postures of adoration. Without professing to be at all learned in the meaning of the rubrics in the Prayer Book, I venture to think the language in regard to this part of the service to be plain enough, and to require that the officiating minister shall say it all openly, and in the presence of the people, so that they can see or witness what is done by him, on every such solemn occasion. But, at St. Alban's, the priests had their faces to the altar, and backs to the congregation, and thus it was hardly possible to see anything, and be sure of what was done or left undone.

A large portion of the congregation now went forward to the chancel-rails, along, or on top of which, were napkins, or cloths, placed so as to prevent a single crumb, or a single drop, falling to the floor. While the people were engaged in kneeling at the rails, the priests remained standing, and holding aloft the paten and chalice, with their contents, for reverent and profound admiration. The administration of the sacrament was as is usual in the Episcopal Church, save that the first part of the words ('The body of our Lord Jesus Christ,' 'The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ'), was said when the bread or wine was given to each communicant, and the latter ('Take and eat this,' 'drink this,') was said to three or four together. The cup, too, was retained in the hands of the priest, and not 'delivered' into the hands of the communicant.

When all had gone forward who wished to partake of the Lord's Supper, the vessels were replaced on the altar and carefully covered, the concluding prayers were intoned, the Gloria in Excelsis was chanted, and the parting blessing was given. After a few moments, the whole congregation stood up, and remained standing, while the priests, having received water from the boys, with napkins, carefully cleansed and wiped the vessels, giving them to the boys to place on the side-table. The little fellow took up the big cross again, the others gathered in line, with the older choristers, and slowly moving, with music, to the passage at the side, the priests finally disappeared in the vestry.

The service, on this occasion, occupied exactly two hours; after which, the people were allowed to go their way, and profit by what they had seen and heard.

                     THE CLERGY.

Talent, backed by experience and industry, will succeed in the long run in New York, but talent is not essential to success here. We have often wondered what does make the success of some men in this city. They have done well, and they have no merit as pulpit orators. In other cities a good pastor need not of necessity be a good preacher. He may endear himself to his congregation in a thousand ways, and they may make his other good qualities atone for his oratorical deficiencies. In New York, however, pastoral duties are almost entirely confined to the ministrations in the church. The city is so immense, the flock so widely scattered, that few clergymen can visit all their people. The result is, that pastoral visiting is but little practiced here. The clergyman is generally "at home," to all who choose to call, on a certain evening in each week. A few civil words pass between the shepherd and the sheep, but that is all. The mass of the people of this city are neglected by the clergy. Possibly the people are at fault. Indeed this is not only possible, but probable, for New York shows little regard for the Sabbath and the Gospel.

A man of real talent will always, if he has a church conveniently and fashionably located, draw a large congregation to hear him; but the location and the prestige of the church often do more than the minister, for some of our poor churches have men of genius in their pulpits, while some of the wealthiest and most fashionable are called on every Sunday to listen to the merest platitudes.

Let us not be misunderstood. There are able men in the New York pulpits. We have Vinton, Chapin, Frothingham, Adams, Osgood, and many others, but we have some weak-headed brethren also.

A few clergymen get rich in this city, the wealthy members of their flocks no doubt aiding them. Some marry fortunes. As a general rule, however, they have no chance of saving any money. Salaries are large here, but expenses are heavy, and it requires a large income to live respectably. A minister settled over a prosperous congregation cannot maintain his social position, or uphold the dignity of his parish, on less than from eight to ten thousand dollars per annum, if he has a moderate sized family. Very little of this will go in extravagances, if any. Many have to live on much smaller salaries, but they do it "by the skin of their teeth."

Having seen much of clergymen, we believe that, whether wise men or simpletons, they are, as a class, honest, sincere self-denying, and God-fearing. There are, however, black sheep amongst them. These are blackest in New York. There are not many of these, however.

The speculative mania (in financial, not theological, matters) to which we have referred in the chapter on Wall street, invades even the ranks of the clergy, and there are several well-known gentlemen of the cloth who operate boldly and skilfully in the stock and gold markets, through their brokers. One of these gentlemen was once sharply rebuked by the broker, for his unclerical conduct, and advised, if he wished to carry on his speculations, to go into the market openly himself, as the broker declined being any longer the representative of a man who was ashamed of his business.

There are still others who are not ashamed to mingle openly with the throng of curbstone brokers, and carry on their operations behind the sanctity of their white cravats.