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REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Art. I.- Charges delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Barbado.
and the Leeward Islands; together with Prayers on certain Public Occasions, and Addresses to Candidates for Holy Orders; to Young Persons offering themselves for Confirmation within that Diocese ; and at the Consecration of a Chapel and Burial-ground in the City of Caracas. By the Right Reverend William Hart COLERIDGE, D.D. Bishop of Barbados and the Leeward Islands. London: Rivingtons. 1835. 8vo. Pp. x. 324, 44.
He that would make himself acquainted with the peculiar character and the increasing extent of the wants of a West Indian diocese, will gladly avail himself- of this excellent volume. We take an early opportunity of recommending it to the serious perusal of our readers, with the hope of engaging their faithful zeal and abundant liberality in aid of the pressing necessities of that interesting branch of our pure and Apostolical Church. They will meet with many allusions and admonitions, it is true, of a strictly local nature ;-—it is equally true, at the same time, that these pastoral charges contain copious matters of the most general application, which all ministers of our Church, wherever situated, may read with pleasure and advantage. With only two exceptions, the charges and addresses have been already printed, and the Christian Remembrancer has not failed to notice them as often as they were published by the Bishop of Barbados. We are persuaded, nevertheless, that we shall perform an acceptable service to our readers by a more detailed account of the volume on our table than what our pages have hitherto presented. If, indeed, we needed any apology for the re-introduction of a work, some of the contents of which have VOL. XVII. NO. v.
already found a place in our “Literary Reports,"—we shall point to the characteristic signs and circumstances of the times in which we live, coupled with the peculiar situation of our West Indian possessions, as an ample justification.
We are willing to pursuade ourselves that the cause of that religion, for which we claim the inalienable character of truth, upon which alone we build the hope of salvation, and the moral effects of which upon the social welfare of the great family of man it would be difficult to overrate, must be equally interesting to the British statesman and the Christian, whether regard be had to its interests here, or abroad. Amidst the perils which thicken around us, and the convulsions with which we are menaced ;-in this stormy night of political anarchy, when factious violence, and infidel outrage, and hungry dissent, and canting hypocrisy, and disappointed ambition, have united, in unnatural alliance, to stay the progress of Protestantism, and to rob the Church of her property ; — in this wide wasting hurricane of godless uproar, whilst Christianity herself seems to be in danger from hostile confederates of the most opposite principles and contradictory views —
“Una Eurusque Notusque ruunt;" — it is some consolation to us to descry even one oasis, on which to dwell for a moment with whatever alleviation of our sorrows! It is some comfort to us, we confess, that when contemplating the enormous wickedness of our country in the sight of God, so as to justify the severest inflictions of his wrath upon our guilty land, we can yet see some faint reason to vindicate the hope of his forbearance. That hope rests principally upon the fostering care with which the Almighty has been pleased to inspire our rulers towards the interests of Christianity in our colonies. It should seem, (we write with fearful miss givings, however,) that the Great Ruler of the universe, in making England the channel of conveying the glad tidings of salvation to the remotest corners of her dependcucies, and of preaching his gospel therein by means of an apostolical order of ministers and a legal endowment, has yet in store for us the riches of national prosperity, and many opportunities of grace! At all events, we have ever hailed with pious gratitude the wisdom of those who planted Episcopacy in Barbados and the Leeward Islands; and we confidently appeal to the good effects already produced there, to justify that wisdom which political economists are wont to disparage.
If it were worth the trouble to refute the contumelious aspersions ever and anon cast upon the Clergy of our Church, by Lord Brougham, with particular reference to their fitness for the task of preaching the gospel to the negro population of our colonies, we might boldly challenge inquiry into the fruits of their ministerial labours in the extensive diocese of our excellent author, where active diligence and united charity have accomplished, under clerical superintendence, and are still accomplishing, so much good! And we think we may rest our defence, (if defence we need,) upon the summary statement and document, and which will be found in the General Appendix, Part II.
We appeal to this accurate document to show how little ground there was for the invidious sarcasm alluded to; and to prove how abundant is the harvest of christian labour, directed by the unremitted assiduity and the controlling wisdom of the excellent Prelate before us! We see in this tabular statement the progressive improvement which has taken place in his diocese : and when we inform our readers that his volume contains other similar tables, explanatory of the religious state of the islands of Trinidad, Tobago, and St. Lucia, with the rural deaneries of St. Vincent's and Grenada, together with a comparative statement of the number of Clergy and of charity schools, in the years 1812, 1825, and 1834; and, besides all this, that it has four coloured maps of the diocese, its archdeaconries and its rural deaneries, its parishes and their respective boundaries, and the situation of the Church Establishments, accompanied with topographical and statistical remarks ;-when we give our readers this information, we shall afford them, we are persuaded, a convincing proof of the diligence, the zeal, and the accuracy of our admirable Prelate, and whet their desire for further acquaintance with the contents of the voluine under review.
To gratify their desire, we turn to the charges and pastoral addresses before us, where sound doctrine and ardent piety are recommended by classical purity of style, and adorned with no common share of theological learning. To his text our good Prelate has appended, at the bottom of each page of his publication, appropriate confirmations of the several topics discussed, from the ablest divines of our Church, which give, in our judgment, a peculiar charm to his volume, and the most persuasive influence to his pastoral advice. Grave, yet not gloomy; pious, yet not enthusiastic; learned, yet not pedantic; bold, yet not offensive ; prudent, yet not time-serving; meek, yet not abject; devout, yet not ceremonious; affectionate, yet not weak; calm, yet not unimpassioned; accurate, yet not tedious in detail ; comprehensive, yet not diffuse; chaste, yet not cold; earnest, yet not fanatic; our author stands forward as a Prelate whom St. Paul might honour with unmixed approbation as "a blameless steward of God,”—and as having gone far to realize his vivid picture of an apostolical Bishop! * With these higher gifts of the scholar and the Christian, our author exhibits every where that practical good sense, without which all other endowments, however dazzling in splendour, are but worthless vanities, or
qualities of mischief. Take as an example the following quotation from our author's Address to Candidates for Holy Orders,
At all times, and in all places, it is required of the spiritual steward that he “ be found faithful ;" yet must he, in the discreet and conciliatory spirit of the Apostle, strive, with the help of God's grace, and without any compromise of principle, “ to be all things to all men, that he may by all means save some.” He that would succeed in his ministry, mast acquaint himself with the state and temper of his parish, and be content to feel his way before he ventures on any important measure; must labour to win the affections of his parishioners before he admonishes them; must be scrupulously attentive to the discharge of his own duties, that he may the more confidently press upon his flock the performance of theirs : must watch his opportunity, that he may be heard the more gladly; must yield in trifles, that be may carry greater matters : must neither needlessly offend the prejudices of his people, nor unjustifiably encourage them in their errors: must point out their faults with tenderness; instruct their ignorance with patience; tend on them in their afflictions with affectionate solicitude ; and ever in his visits among them shew that interest in their temporal concerns, which may enable him to exert a salutary influence over them in things spiritual.—Pp. 2, S.
It is indeed the duty,—we would call it rather the privilege,—of a Clergyman, to endear himself to his parishioners by every office of friendly advice and by pastoral visits ; and to show thern the perils of their march heavenward, pointing out the devices of their spiritual adversary,—directing them what weapons to wield in their holy warfare, that, “having done all," they may be enabled, by christian patience, to fight a good fight;—and being at all times instant in the prosecution of their ministerial inspections, wherever an auspicious opportunity of usefulness solicits and justifies, at the same time, their interference. If a minister be tauntingly asked, in the language of the poet,* _
“Quis tuus usus erat ?” he may answer, in the language of the same poet, † (happy in the answer of a good conscience !)
“ Hostibus insidior ; fossas munimine cingo :
Consolor socios, ut longi tædia belli
Armandique modo; mittor quò postulat usus." A Clergyman can neither expect much society, nor conscientiously, perhaps, engage in it, consistently with the necessary economy of his finances and his time; and though it be granted to him to have some seasons of relaxation, yet these must be sought, not merely for their own sakes, but that he may “return refreshed and more vigorous to the work whereunto he has devoted himself.”
How sensible are our Prelate's remarks on this subject! We gladly adorn our pages with them.
I am far, however, from intending that you should seclude yourselves from all society. Cultivate the acquaintance of individuals respectable for learning or piety; daily enter the schools of your parish, and attach the young to your persons and ministry; visit the dwellings of the poor, and search out their temporal and spiritual necessities. In this, as in every other branch of ministerial duty, you have your pattern in the words and example of your Divine Master. Let your doors be always open to the hungry and naked ; to the ignorant, who seek instruction; to the afflicted, who apply for comfort; and to the awakened sinner, who needs “ some man to guide him." Let them lie open to the edifying gravity of the serious,-to the innocent cheerfulness of the young,—to the wisdom of the aged and the wellinformed; be, as the Apostle admonishes, “ a lover of good inen;" yet hold yourselves on the watch to benefit every soul under your care. “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." By thus mixing occasionally in the society of the place where he dwells, a Clergyman may very materially benefit both himself and his people. His presence will act as a restraint, not on rational conversation or sober cheerfulness, but on that which should be checked, the profane oath, the obscene allusion, the scoff of the infidel, and the riot of the intemperate. ....... But in order to secure to himself his full influence in society, a Clergyman must never forget that he is a Clergyman; he must never suppose that he can for a moment lay aside his sacred character. In his looks, in his dress,t in his conversation, I had almost said, in every gesture, must be seen the minister of God: he must be serious without moroseness, cheerful without levity, kind without weakness, courteous without servility, affable without familiarity, sound in speech without dogmatism; " in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ;” not quick to take offence, nor over-anxious of personal respect, but, “ as much as in him lieth, living peaceably with all men;" ready, as far as may be consistent with bis sacred calling, to engage in social recreation ; yet, with such a prudent reserve, that if at that moment he be called to perform the most awful part of his ministerial duty, he may feel himself, and appear to others, in a proper state to enter upon it.-Pp. 5–8.
From these general topics our Prelate passes to the more immediate duties of the pastoral office, both public and private ; the former embracing the reading of the prayers and the Holy Scriptures in the congregation, the preaching of God's word, and the administration of the sacraments, and other offices of the Church ;—the latter, the disciplining of the heart by self-examination, meditation, and prayer, and the daily acquisition of fresh stores of sacred knowledge by the study of the Bible, and the writings of pious and learned men. His cautions and precepts are full of wisdom, and possess the charm of being singularly fitted to instruct the man of God as to matters of professional duty more immediately connected with the character of the present times, whilst he recommends to his clergy to be to their flocks“ mild,” and “ simple," and “ humble " teachers, rather than “subtle, acrimonious, and selfopinioned disputants ;” and reminds them that the main object of their
• John xvii. 15; ii. 2; iv. 40–42. Acts x. 38.
+ “I am not a little solicitous about the dress of a Clergyman, which I think a matter of more consequence than the generality of people will perhaps allow. I think it an argument of great lightness in a Clergyman to endeavour, as far as he can, to adopt the lay habit.”--Dialogues on the Amusements of Clergymen.