« PreviousContinue »
change the revealed predestination of God, brought“ into the economy of the fulness of the times by the Gospel, and as the Father hath made Himself known to us in Christ Jesus ; into the unknown predestination of metaphysicians, carried into eternity by them, and as the Father is supposed to be absolutely in Himself. The selection of the predestinate, according to our finite comprehension, is unquestionably arbitrary and unknown : it is, therefore, a secret thing which belongs unto the Lord our God. But it by no means follows that predestination should, on that account, be absolute. It is sufficient for us to know, that “ we are fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise, in Christ by the Gospel ;' in consequence of the Father having "predestined us into sonship by Jesus Christ;-into Christ according to the good pleasure of His will;"—and into praising of the glory of His grace, in which He “has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Provided we have been selected by the preaching of the Gospel, this predestination of us into sonship, Christ, and gratitude, is a thing that belongs to us, from the chief corner, on which it is founded, i. e., from the Son of God, by whom it has been carried into effect, to the personal benefit which makes it known to us; i. e., to our gratitude, which places us in the position in which predestination and vocation unite; mercy
and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other.” The truth springs out of the earth, from our experience of the righteousness which has looked down upon us from heaven.-Ps. Ixxxv. 10, 11. Provided the gospel has been preached unto us, the promised blessings and benefits of predestination, contemplated in the Divine Mind, have been made to abound toward us, in all the wisdom and prudence of vocation—that “we may walk worthy of our vocation, in which we have “ been called—with all lowliness and meekness ; with patience; supporting one another in love; striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, (iv. 1-3); and, “ from applying the truth, spiritually discerned,"'* to our conversation in the world,“ may grow up altogether into Christ, which is the Head” (iv. 15). Under these four heads, which he brings forward in his introduction to the second part-under docility, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, St. Paul has arranged his practical exhortations, in like manner as he has brought grace and peace" forward in the introduction to the first part, as the heads of the annexed revelation. I am, Sir, yours very faithfully,
DESCENT INTO HELL.
MR. EDITOR,—A short time ago, in reading a book entitled, “Life and Death,” I was struck with the following passage:-" In the rubric, before the Apostles' Creed, in the American Liturgy, it is very properly stated, that the words, · He went into the place of departed spirits,' as they stand there, are considered as words of the same
* Facientes veritatem in charitate.- Vulg.
meaning with He descended into hell. It would be well if, in our prayer-books, the proper meaning of this expression was also distinctly set down.” In this opinion I entirely agree ; for I have known some even well-informed and educated persons who have pleaded guilty to the charge of ignorance respecting the real meaning of this clause in the formula of faith which for years they have been in the weekly habit of repeating. Such phrases, too, as “ the catholic church,'' “ the vulgar tongue,” “ the old man,” the meaning of the word “ prevent,” as used in several of the prayers, are causes of perplexity to the ignorant. These, and other similar expressions, give to some parts of our most excellent Liturgy too much the air of something that can be understood only by the initiated. I am no violent reformer; and so great is my attachment even to the letter of our Common Prayer Book, that I should be sorry to see it altered, because I think that, if it were altered, the chances would be against its being improved. But a short explanation, in the margin at the bottom of the page, of all such words and phrases as might seem to need it, would, in my opinion, be a very useful addition to our Liturgy, and would throw a light on many passages which, to many religious and good churchmen, especially of the less educated classes, are now involved in darkness and obscurity. I remain, Mr. Editor, your constant reader,
Beverley, Dec. 5, 1833. SIR,_I observe in the last number of the British Magazine a statement of an unfortunate affair which took place in Beverley Minster. As ecclesiastical proceedings, you state, are forth with to be commenced against the church warden of St. Martin's, it would, I think, have been more consistent with the usual spirit in which your Magazine is conducted to have abstained, if not from all mention of the circumstance, at least from adopting an evidently highly-coloured and ex parte statement, and from prejudging a question which you were aware was to be a subject of legal investigation. As, however, you have adopted a different course, and have been betrayed into several inaccuracies, I feel it incumbent upon me to make a few observations on your statement.
You say that “the churchwardens of St. Martin's erroneously supposed that the churchwardens had no right to sit in the pew
in question.” They never supposed any such thing. The pews in the minster are quite free; at the same time, it is generally considered that, when a seat has once been occupied, no other person has any claim to eject him, or disturb him in the occupation, or even, in case of his temporary absence during the continuance of the service, to take possession of it, and refuse to give it up on demand. The church wardens of St. John's
Clericus's offer as to Queen Anne's Bounty is most thankfully accepted.-Perhaps the Editor ought to add, that an explanation which went farther than the Third Article, could not be added in the Prayer Book. The explanation given in the American Liturgy, indeed, is commonly reecived since Pearson's time, but not by any authority.-ED.
must be considered as intruders, and the persons who provoked the brawl.
Your subsequent statement regarding the other churchwarden, that he seized one of the St. John's churchwardens by the collar, pulled him out of his seat, and seated himself therein, is, from all the information I have been able to obtain, a very gross perversion of the real facts of the case. The conduct of the person alluded to was, instead of being outrageous and violent, as described, temperate and decorous in the highest degree. Such, at least, is the result of the inquiries which I have made. I was myself in the church, and officiating, but at too great a distance to see or hear any thing of the matter. And, in fact, I did not know that any thing extraordinary had occurred till after the conclusion of the service.
In regard to the other church warden, who is described as having struck his brother church warden of St. John's, &c., I have nothing to say in justification of his conduct or language. He has been cited before the spiritual court, and has submitted, and has made his peace, by paying certain expenses.
I feel quite confident that you would not willingly misrepresent, or do anything which might contribute to occasion any undue prejudice, especially in a case which is about to undergo legal investigation before the proper
tribunal. I do not presume to say what course you ought to pursue for the purpose of doing away the impression which the misrepresentation, into which you have been betrayed, is calculated to produce in regard to a man who, in this instance, is much more sinned against than sinning You are welcome to make any use you please of this letter. I am, Sir, your very obedient servant,
Oxford, Oct. 20th, 1833. MR. EDITOR,—It cannot be uninteresting, especially at a time like the present, to revert to the example of any of those members of the church
The Editor feels some surprise at the tone of the above letter. It must surely have occurred to the gentleman who wrote it, that, unless private individuals are so good as to send accounts of particular meetings, or other transactions, the person who collects the Events of the Month can have no other way of collecting them than the taking them from the most respectable newspapers. He ought certainly to state, in each case, his authority, and it will be better to do so in future. If a matter is of any consequence, it is presumed that a statement, if not contradicted by the end of the month, may be fairly taken as the truth, i.e. as fairly as any thing can be taken from newspapers, a large portion of which is certainly any thing but the truth. The Editor has no interest in this part of the Magazine, nor the least wish that it should be continued; but it is understood to be acceptable. If the writer of the letter given above can suggest any better method of obtaining information than a careful search of the various newspapers, which the person whose business it is to collect the Events is charged to make, the Editor would very willingly attend to the gentleman's suggestions. He frankly confesses that he cannot occupy his own time about the matter, and he has no further concern with it than striking out what appears to him useless or improper when the Magazine is going to press. The charges in the letter, therefore, do not fall very heavily on him.
of England, who have defied the arm of persecution when outstretched against her doctrines and liturgy, and to inquire what were the feelings that to them, ".
made the rushing fire flood seem
Like summer breeze by woodland stream.” It is true, the period may be past, when whosoever killeth the followers of Christ shall think that he doeth God service, and shall be thought by others to have done so, but the time may not be far distant when they shall be put out of the synagogues. They may well expect to be still exposed to hatred, to insult, and to neglect; and if the spirit of persecution, in whatever manner it may be displayed, is still the same, the spirit of martyrdom is not less clearly identical. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” The nature of the testimony may be different, but the spirit, it is hoped, may be the same. The following extract from one of the most learned, discreet, and pious victims of the Marian persecution, exquisitely beautiful if considered merely as a composition, may, therefore, be deemed not wholly inapposite to the present circumstances :
“ Hitherto, ye see (good father) how I have, in words, only made as it were a flourish before the fight, which I shortly look after, and how I have began to prepare certain kinds of weapons to fight against the adversary of Christ, and to muse with myself how the darts of the old enemy may be borne off, and after what sort I may snick him again with the sword of the Spirit. I learn, also, hereby to be in use with armour, and to assay how I can go armed.
"In Tyndall, where I was born, not far from the Scottish borders, I have known my countrymen to watch night and day in their harness, such as they had, that is, in their jacks, and their spears in their hands (you call them Northern gads), specially when they had any privy warding of the coming of the Scots. And so doing, although at every such bickerings some of them spent their lives, yet by such means, like pretty men, they defended their country; and those that so died, I think that before God they died in a good quarrel, and their offspring and progeny, all the country loved them the better for their father's sake. And in the quarrel of Christ our Saviour, in the defence of his own divine ordinances, by the which he giveth unto us life and immortality; yea, in the quarrel of faith and Christian religion, wherein resteth our everlasting salvation, shall we not watch ? shall we not go always armed ? ever looking when our adversary (which, like a roaring lion, seeketh whom he may devour) shall come upon us by reason of our slothfulness? Yea, and woe be unto us, if he can oppress us unawares, which undoubtedly he will do if he find us sleeping. Let us awake therefore, for if the good man of the house knew what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and not suffer his house to be broken up. LET US AWAKE THEREFORE, I say, and let us not suffer our house to be broken up. Resist the devil, saith St. James, and be will fly from you. Let us, therefore, resist him manfully, and taking the cross upon our shoulders, let us follow our captain, Christ, who by his own blood hath dedicated and hallowed the way which leadeth unto the Father, that is, to the light which no man can attain, the fountain of everlasting joys. Let us follow, I say, whither he calleth and allureth us, that after these affictions, which last but for a moment, whereby he trieth our faith as gold by the fire, we may everlastingly reign and triumph with him in the glory of the Father; and that, through the same, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever, Amen. Amen."
Well might Latimer say, that his colleague's was not only no bare armour, but well buckled armour.” It was to be anticipated that one who wrote and felt thus (though he humbly says of himself elsewhere, “I ween I am the weakest many ways of our company,” meaning the three Oxford prisoners) would have no need in the day of battle to put off his helmet and his coat of mail, with the words, “I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them.” I am, Mr. Editor, your obedient servant,
O. R. H.
ADDITIONS TO THE LITURGY. Sir,-At a period like the present, when even the most sincere conformist is often called upon to admit that the noblest uninspired productions are not, and cannot be, faultless; and when our adversaries are often loud in reminding us of so obvious a position, the following suggestion on the subject of our liturgy may deserve a place in your pages. I do not ever remember to have seen it any where made, but I have often thought it would be a method to preserve that excellent book in harmony with progressing ideas, without deviating in the least from its acknowledged standard of orthodoxy. To add, without curtailing (in the degree here proposed), could not impair its efficiency and the principle is already established in many of its most sublime passages; as, for instance, where the “ Te Deum” may be exchanged, at the option of the minister, for the “Song of the three Children.”
As the Liturgy now stands, the places which have been objected to are very few in number. The form of absolving the sick,—the Psalm in the same service,-one of our Creeds,—the rather inconvenient wording of the address at the opening of matrimony,—and a collect in the burial service, are the only parts I remember, where even the boldest critic has been able to make out his case. If in these, or any other passages, a change be at any time advisable, might it not be by addition, rather than by substitution or erasure ? Our liturgy would thus be enriched by several duplicate forms in addition to those few which it has from the earliest contained. If any real objection exists against the forms which we have, they would gradually fall into disuse, not into oblivion. It would be competent to future ages again to appreciate their excellence; and some centuries hence, the words of our pious ancestors might be esteemed, as compared with our own, more rational, more devout, more eloquent :
“ Multa renascentur, quæ jam cecidere ; cadentque
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, L. W.
PHILIPPIANS ii. 13.
SIR,_Discussion upon uncertain passages of the apostolical epistles-such, i.e., as have not been hitherto clearly interpreted-would forin