« PreviousContinue »
adapted to the majority of readers; if he would have it go through four, teen editions in a few years, like its slender prototype, we would suggest that a further compression is more likely to effect his purpose, than any other mode of recommendation. A thick closely printed duodecimo, that is, a manual, would be better fitted to the taste of the persons for whose use it is especially desirable; and it would be much more frequently purchased by tliem, than two octavo volumes. The matter might be brought into a smaller compass without any prejudicial curtailment.
Six Lecture* on the Church Catechism. By the Rev. Edward Berens. 12nio. 1*. (id. pp. 08. Rivingtons.
She Lecture* on the Penitential Psalms. By the same. \s. Gd.
We have great pleasure in announ. cing to our readers the appearance of two fresh courses of Lectures, from the pen of Mr. Berens. His name is so well known, and his writings so justly appreciated, that any remark of ours may be deemed superfluous; yet we cannot content ourselves with giving, a silent vote in testimony of his merits. Mr. Berens possesses a talent which is precisely such as we want at the preseut moment, that of being able to treat the highest and holiest subjects in a plain and easy and impressive manner, suitable to the capacities of the lower orders, without degenerating into those faulty extremes, which we have had occasion to regret in other writers.
We are happily living in an age, when education is becoming so general throughout the country, that we have every reason to hope that in the next generation there wilL be comparatively few uninstructed in the essentials of their duty, or unable to read. A great step has thus been gained, for an ignorant
Remembrancer, No. 61.
population is ever ripe for evil. But much yet remains to be done: a power has been given which must be rightly directed; a desire has been excited, which must be supplied. The emissaries of mischief are already on the alert to circulate publications of the most pernicious tendency : it must be the earnest endeavour, therefore, of every true friend of religion and of the poor, to pre-occupy the ground promptly and effectually; to be prepared to place in their hands not only the Bible, as the fountain of religious knowledge—not only the Liturgy of our Church, as the best manual of public, and we may be allowed to add, of private devotion—not only books and tracts exclusively religious, to explain and enforce the several branches of doctrine and practice for the comfort and guidance of the old, and the instruction of the young; but other works, in addition to these, of more general information and innocent amusement; care being taken, as far as possible, that these latter be subservient to the main object of cherishing sound principles and encouraging good morals.
We are happy to find that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, with that prudence in anticipating, and promptness in acting, which ever characterize their operations, where an acknowledged good is attainable by legitimate means, have already offered themselves to the public in the character of selectors of works of this latter description, to be published of an uniform size, and supplied at the cost prices to their Members; thereby causing no additional drain on the funds of the Society, which remain, as before, exclusively applied to the furtherance of their religious objects, and yet rendering an essential service to the public. Much difficulty in procuring proper books must of course be anticipated at the outset, till time has been allowed to look around for works more
expressly suited to the purpose. The Society, if we rightly understand their objects, do not pretend that what they have hitherto selected are the very best that could be procured, but only the best that have as yet come in iheir way. It has been obviously their endeavour to avoid as much as possible on the one hand every thing objectionable, and on the other to collect from works already before the public, much that is pleasing and useful.
By a reference to our Monthly Register, it will be seen that they are still adding to their list; and we are happy iu being able to assure our readers that there is every disposition on the part of the Society to keep pace with the increasing applications of their Members. Their Supplemental Catalogue, in which these works of a more general kind are placed, may be .considered to have been as yet but a trial—it has succeeded —-the demand for the books so selected is daily increasing, and increasing from a cause which our readers will be no less happy to hear—the increase of parochial libraries.
The establishment of these libraries is another of the recent measures of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, that promises most essential benefit. A parochial library well selected, with a due regard to the local wants of the parish, may be considered as a storehouse of good and wholesome food, whence the poor maybe seasonably supplied, instead of taking up with the poi. sonous trash which is so industriously circulated through the remotest corners of the kingdom. There will thus be no excuse, and less inclination for reading what is bad, when what is at once good, instructive and amusing, is to be obtained for the asking. Instead of wasting his time and his hard earnings, as is now but too often the case, in the noise and dissipation of the alehouse, we may look to find the la
bourer sitting over his frugal meal, in the bosom of his family, listening to some pious discourse, or instructive and entertaining history, hearing nothing that is bad, and occasionally gathering much that is good and useful. We could hazard more anticipations of the same pleasing kind, anticipations that, we trust, will prove to have been not more the wishes of an ardent mind, eager for the welfare' of the poor, than the result of cool calculation, and reasonable expectancy. Enough however has been said, to shew how deeply we feel the importance of establishing parochial libraries in every parish. If means are wanting, the Society are never slack in rendering assistance ; and when there is no want of means, we are satisfied that the Clergy will, not be slack on their part in availing themselves of them. With these impressions, then, it will be no wonder that we should look on a writer such as Mr. Berens with no common interest. We are happy to learn that already his sermons have been placed on the Supplemental Catalogue of the Society: and we trust that the present Lectures, with others of his works, will be deemed worthy of the same [distinction. Mr. Berens, however, must not stay bis pen—there is yet much to be done; and we really know no person that can do it so well as himself. We should like much, for instance, to see the Liturgy of our Church set forth in all its native beauty and fitness, after his own easy and simple manner, and in his own language. Waldo's essay may be excellent, and we have no doubt that it has received considerable improvement by having been broken by Mr. Berens into the form of lectures; but it is no compliment to him to say that he would have produced a much belter work himself. Where a writer is so rich in his own original stores, we cannot suffer him to waste his time in furbishing up the more antiquated and less popular materials of others. Then there is the whole body of the Psalms, of which we yet want a familiar exposition, for the use of the lower orders; and how well qualified iMr. Berens is to give us this, the present Lectures on the Penitential portions abundantly testify. We are far from presuming to dictate to a writer, whose pen is clearly never idle, and who knows much better than we do what should be done: but it has often been a source of much paiu to us to reflect how lamentably ignorant the majority of congregations are of those noble compositions which form so large and prominent a part of our Church service, and contain so many striking prophecies confirmatory of the Christian faith, so much consolation in the hour of trouble, so much practical admonition, and so many perfect models of devout praise, thanksgiving, and prayer.
But we have too long kept our readers from the Lectures before us: and we must still beg to confine our present remarks to those on the Catechism, reserving the others for a future consideration.
Those on the Catechism are six in number: thair titles are, 1. Baptismal Vow; 2. Creed; 3. Duty towards God; 4. Duty towards our Neighbour; 6. Lord's Prayer; 6*. Lord's Supper. Where all are so good, we know not' what portion to select; and selection is less necessary, as the public are not now to judge for the first time of the style of the author. There are passages, however, as 'we read them, which struck us as peculiarly happy, and in Mr. Berens' best manner: we would particularize the following:
"The mention of the Christian name at the beginning of the Catechism, naturally leads to the occasion on which that name was given; and, I wonld remark, that the circumstance of our bearing a Christian name, ought constantly to remind us, both of the privileges which were then conferred upon ois, and of the engagements into wbich we then entered. Let every me, says the Apostle, that nametk lite
name of Christ, depart from iniquity*; and, let every one that bears a Christian name, beware of doing or saying any thingwhich would be unworthy of the Christian profession, any thing that would reflect dishonour on the name of Christian.
"You will observe that Baptism is represented as placing us in a new slate. The assertion that in Baptism, each of us ' Was
MADE A MEMBER OF CHRIST, THE CHILD OF GOD, AND AN INHERITOR OF THE
Kingdom Op Heaven,' implies that before Baptism we were in a less favourable condition. Before Baptism we were in our natural state, that state which in Scripture is called ttiejlesh, and the old man; and St. Paul assures us, that they that are in the flesh cannot please Godl, that they that live after the flesh shall die J. This sinful and mortal nature we inherit from our first parents, who by transgressing tho command of God brought sin and death into the world. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned §. It is in compliance with these and other passages of Scripture, that the Catechism speaks of men in general as
BBINO BY NATURE BORN IN SIN AND THE
Children Of Wrath. To deliver us from this state, the Son of God, who was with the Father before the creation of the world, became man, and died upon the cross; and he appointed Baptism to be the regular means of admission into the fellowship of his religion, and to participation in the benefits which his death was designed to purchase. In his conference with Nicodemns, Christ said, Except a man be born again—born of water and of the Spirit—he cannot enter into the hingdom ofGod^. And his last charge to the Apostles was, ' Go ye, and teach' —or make disciples of—' all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and oftlte Son, and of the Holy Ghost f. To which is added in the parallel passage in St. Mark, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned**. As Baptism, therefore, is the appointed means of admission into the fellowship of Christ's religion, we are therein Made Members Of Christ, Children Of God, And Inheritors Of The Kingdom. P. 2.
"But though admitted to this glorious inheritance, though placed in a capacity of
• 2 Tim. ii. 19. t Rom. viii. 8.
t Rom. viii. 13. § Rom. v. 12. || John iii. 3, 5. «j Matt, xxviii. 19.
•• Mark xvi. 16. going to heaven, we may be disinherited; we may forfeit, may be cut otf from these high privileges: and we shall forfeit them, unless we are mindful of our part of the covenant or agreement, unless we strive to fulfil the conditions on which these privileges were granted. These conditions are faith, and a sincere endeavour to lead a good life in reliance on the aid of the Holy Spirit." P. 5.
"When you reflect upon the hopeless state of sin and death, from which by Baptism you were delivered through Jesus Christ our .Saviour, you will naturally feel disposed to Thank ouit Heavenly FaTher FOR CALLING YOU TO THIS STATE Of Salvation, for directing by his Providence that you should be born in a Christian country, and of Christian parents. From this state of salvation however we may fall; and we shall fall, nuleas we are kept in it by the help of God. We must therefore pray earnestly to him To Givf. Us
HIS GRACE THAT WE MAY CONTINUE IN THE SAME UNTO OUR LIFE'S END. Let US pray for that grace with fervency and perseverance; and let us remember for our encouragement, that if we earnestly seek this help we shall find it, for tint our Heavenly Father will rive the Holy Spirit to them that ask Arm*, that pray to him with humility, in sincerity and truth." On the Privileges and Vow of Baptism, P. 17.
"We next profess our belief In Jesus Christ, His Only Son Our Lord.
"The name Jesus signifies Saviour; and he was so named by the Angel, because he was to save his people from their sins t;— he came into the world to save sinners t.
"christ, a word from the Greek language, is the same as Messiah from the Hebrew. Both words mean anointed. It was a custom among Jews, a custom appointed by God himself, to consecrate or set apart men to the offices of prophet, priest, or king, by anointing or pouring oil on the head. Our Saviour came to be a prophet, a priest, and a king. He was a prophet, as lie declared the will of God to man, and predicted things to come; the prophet foretold by Moses and by Isaiah. He is a priest, as he is a mediator, an intercessor between God and man; and especially, as he offered up himself a sacrifice, and now continueth ever, having an unchangeable priesthood $. He is a king, as he was empowered to give laws to, and still continues to govern and protect, his church, for he is now exalted to be a prince
and a Saviour* ; and all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth. And to these offices he was anointed or set apart, not by the pouring on of oil, bnt by the Holy Ghost. God, wc are told, anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Gltost and with power t. The Lord anointed hint to preach good tidings unto the meek;— to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound%.
"Jesus Christ is called in the Creed the Only Son of God. In one sense all true believers are styled the sons of God, for in Baptism we are said to be made the children of God. We are the sons of God, however, by adoption only. Our Saviour is his Son in a very different, and far higher seme, in a sense infinitely above our understanding, and as such he is iu Scripture repeatedly styled the only begotten Son of God.
"He is also Our Lord. Our Lord in every sense. It was by him that Godcreated us, for without him was not any thing made that was made $; we were At*, therefore, by the right of creation. But we are much more his in the right of redemption; for since we are bonght by hint with a price, even the price of his own blood, we are clearly no longer our own, but belong to him who has thus bought us. He is ouil Lord also, inasmuch as all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth, as he is exalted to be King of kings and Lord of lords ||.
"Let ns remember, that if we acknowledge him to be our Lord, wc mast be careful to do whatever he commands. It would be a sort of mockery and insnlt to call him our Lord with our lips, and at the same time to pay no regard to his authority. He would have cause to say to us, as he said to the Jews, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I sayH" P. SI.
"The word Catholic means general or universal; and toe Christian Church is so styled, because it was designed to extend all over the world, to comprehend all nations, and to continue through all ages; whereas the Jewish Church was confined to one particular people, and was to last only for a certain number of years. This CaTholic Church is called Holy. This does not mean that all its professed members are boly; for our Saviour compares the kingdom of Heaven to a field, in whicb wheat and tares grow together till the har
• Acts v. 31. t Acta x. 38.
t I*a. Ixi. and Luke ix. 18. § John i. 3.
II 1 Tim. vi. IS. If Lake vi. it;.
vest; to a net, that was cast into the sea aad gathered of every kind both bad and good; to a~marriagc feast, at which some had on the wedding garment, and some had sot. And thns the visible Church contains many unworthy members; many are called bat few are chosen. But the Church is called Holt, because it is-holy in its design and institution, holy in its ordinances, and will be perfectly holy in the end, when all things that offend shall he cast out, and Christ shall present unte himself a glorious Chure/t, not having spot, or wrinkle, or ana such thing; but holy and without blemish V P. 33.
"Such then is that summary of our belief which is entitled the Apostles' Creed; that summary which we constantly recite, and profess to hold. Many—1 will hope mast—oC you, are in the habit of often repeating it with your lips. When you do tons repeat it, consider seriously whether you really understand the meaning of it;— whether yon really believe it;—whether yoo shew that yon do believe it in your conduct;—for, remember, that faith which does not produce good works—holiness of heart and life—is dead, and unworthy of the name of faith. Yon cannot but see and feel, bow unbecoming, how disgraceful it is for a man to be ignorant of the chief articles of the religion which he professes,— or how dangerous to hold the truth in unrighteousness; how dangerous to be nominal Christians without Christianity. Let us then often examine ourselves whether we be in the faith, let us prove our ownselves. And let ns fervently pray to God, through the merits of bis Son, and by the operation af his Holy Spirit, to increase our faith. Maybe of his mercy more and more staUuh, strengthen, settle you in a right brief and a right practice,—in universal holiness of heart and life;—may he Jill you trith all joy and peace in believing, through (be power of the Holy Ghost." Lecture m the Creed. P. 36.
"It is from the corruption of the heart of man, that proceed the temptations to violate the several Commandments, which we have now been considering. Out of the heart, says our Saviour, proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornicaturns, thefts, false witness, blasphemies^. The tenth Commandment, therefore, goes directly to the regulation of the heart, and forbids, even to desire any improper indulgence, to covet any thing that does not belong to us. Thou Shalt Not Covet
THY NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE, THOU SHALT »0T COVET THY NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE, NOR
- ■- r
• Epb. v. tr, t Matt. xv. 19.
HIS SERVANT, NOR HIS MAID, NOR MIS OX, NOR HIS ASS, NOR ANY THING THAT IS HIS.
"Nothing would tend more to our own happiness, and to the peace and welfare of society in general, than the due observance of this tenth Commandment. When we Cotet, when we set our hearts upon that which belongs to another, we are tempted rebellionsly to repine and murmur against Providence. We are tempted to envy, one of the basest and darkest of the evil passions, that disturb and prey upon the heart of man. Perhaps, at length, we are tempted to endeavour to possess ourselves of that which we covet, and, in order to obtain it, go on even to murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness. Let us watch and pray, against this evil spirit of coveting. If we love our neighbour a* ourselves, as we ought to do, we shall take pleasure in his prosperity and enjoyment. And for ourselves, we shall endeavour to follow the precept,—-Be content with such things as ye have*; we shall endeavour to imitate the example of St. Pan), / have learned, in whatsoever state 1 am, therewith to be content t. If by our own prudence and industry, and exertions, we can better our condition, we ought to do so, not for our own sakes only, but for the sake of those who belong to us; and for the sake of all those whom we may thus be able to assist,—tliat we may have to give to him that needeth\. lint still, let our endeavours be accompanied by a perfect submission to the will of Providence, by a heart that does not envy the prosperity of other men, but can be contented and cheerful in any condition of life. Without murmuring, or repining, or coveting, let US LEARN AND LABOUR TP.ULY TO GET OUIl OWN LIVING, AND TO DO OUR DUTY IN THAT STATE OF LIFE, UNTO WHICH IT • HALL PLEASE GOD TO CALL US.
"Let us, then, often examine ourselves, by comparing our hearts and lives with the rule of God's commandments. When we find that we have offended,—and in many things we offend all, j—let us humbly implore God's mercy and forgiveness, through the atonement and mediation of his Son. And for the time to come, let as fervently and constantly pray for the aid of his Spirit to write all these his laws in outhearts ; and to incline onr hearts to keep them. Let us beseech him to make us feel a constant respect unto All his righteeous statutes, to enable ns with sincerity and truth to walk like his servants of old,