In early New England, many churches appointed a “tithing man” who carried around a long rod with a knob at the end (the other end had a fox or hare’s tail for gentler use on the women-folk) and whose job was to prevent disorderly conduct during service or to awaken the sleeping. (this info is from Howard Davies, The Worship of the American Puritans). Was this merely a New England practice? Why didn’t the deacons do this? Did any churches in Europe do this? What was the Biblical justification for this? Does anyone have any more info on this practice?