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gular practices. If some such agreement is not apparent, it is in vain for obscure individuals like myself to attempt to change the public feeling, or to comply with the directions of our respected diocesan: fashion and folly will be too strong for all such partial efforts.
I will only add, that I intend no direspect to any party alluded to in these remarks, the practice being too common to attach peculiar blame in particular cases. But the general question is important; and the more so because it bears upon many others connected with the practical discipline of the Church.
ON THE AFFECTATION OF USING
THE PLURAL NUMBER.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
WILL your younger clerical readers permit me to warn them against the affectation of speaking in the plural number in their pulpit addresses? This is sometimes done from a notion of avoiding egotism; but it is superlatively egotistic, besides being pompous and unnatural. There requires but a moment's reflection to ascertain when the use of the plural is the more proper and modest, and when it is conceited and displeasing. When writing or speaking in the name of others as well as our own, the plural should of course be preferred: thus a cabinet minister may properly say "we propose;" or a reviewer," we think ;" or a physician, "we always prescribe;" or a clergyman, "we beseech;" when the speaker or writer gives not merely his own sentiment, but the opinion of his colleagues, or those with whom he is known to act, or of the persons of his profession. Pomposity and affectation would in these cases consist in using the singular number for the cabinet minister has but one voice in the council, and speaks in the name of the government; the reviewer is not supposed to give us his private de.
cision independent of his colleagues; the physician adverts not to his own personal practice, but to the habits of his profession, "We prescribe calomel and opium in such and such cases;" and the divine uses not his own name or authority, and means not to intimate that it is his own exclusive personal habit, when he says, "We beseech you, be ye reconciled to God." In all such cases the parties speak generally, and therefore properly employ the plural. form.
But if they were delivering what was only private and personal, the use of "we" and "us" would be bombastic. What a laugh would assail a cabinet minister who should say, "While on our legs we shall reply to the honourable member who animadverted on our speech." Equally pompous and unmeaning were it for a private correspondent like myself, addressing the conductors of a periodical publication, to assume the chair, and talk of "we;" and even more ludicrous is the mock solemnity with which I have heard an ill-instructed apothecary ejaculate, "Well, sir, we have seen our patient; and we have convalesced a good deal since yesterday; and we purpose going on with the medicines as before." Equally opposed to simplicity is the pluralism of the pulpit, where the speaker is alluding to what is strictly personal, as his own discourse, his division of his subject, his plans, his wishes, his intentions: as, for example, "We have always thought, in our ministrations among you, &c.; It is our fixed opinion, &c.; We propose, in concluding our present discourse, &c." Such a style is unnatural, and not a little displeasing. In all such cases, 66 I," and "my," and "me," are in reality far more modest than their correspondent plurals: or if the speaker, upon trying them, finds them, as perhaps he will, too egotistic, it may be worth his inquiry whether the egotism was not in the ideas, rather than in the words; and if he could not avoid
the difficulty by not introducing himself at all, or at least more than is necessary; and what is necessary will not appear obtrusive. A cabinet minister gives no offence in speaking in the first person singular where it is proper, as in alluding to something in his own particular department. "I should not object," says a chancellor of the exchequer, "to giving up such or such a duty;" and a clergyman, in like manner, gives no offence in using similar language relative to his own discourse, so far as it is necessary to mention what is strictly personal; but the limits of this necessity are very narrow, and in most instances he will do well to avoid the difficulty by avoiding self, and including others in the range of his sympathies. There ought to be as little as possible of "I" and "you" in a sermon-I, the teacher; you, the learners: I, the oracle; you, the suitors. Rather let it be "we" not "we," meaning "I;" but we, fellow-sinners; we, fellow-Christians; we, fellow-worshippers; we, the pastor and the flock. It is not what "I," I the individual, think, or urge, or wish; but the Master I serve, the message I bear, the office I sustain. There is something ungrateful to all men, and particularly to persons of cultivated minds, in being accosted, even in a good cause, in a spirit of dogmatism; but love and meekness, and the absence of self and personal display, carry with them a charm, the force of which all can feel, and the proudest will not disdain to acknowledge.
ON THE EVIL OF LATE HOURS.
To the Editor ofthe Christian Observer.
I DO not recollect observing, among the many subjects treated of in your publication, any distinct enumeration of the manifold evils arising from the modern prevalence of late hours. I learn that in your busy and gay metropolis the practice CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 352.
is truly alarming; and even in our country towns and villages the encroachment is most ominous. I hear of shops open at eleven o'clock at night; of drawing-room windows flashing on the darkness for hours later; and even of regular, respectable tradesmen, and others far removed from the dissipations of fashionable life, who seldom retire to rest till after midnight. Will none of your correspondents, better versed than myself in the detail of these matters, utter a warning voice against so serious an evil? For an evil it is in every view, as respects health, morals, religion, and public and private welfare. Who, till the present age, heard of public lectures and scientific meetings commencing at eight or nine o'clock in the evening; and still more of a Lord Chancellor's levee opening at ten, and this, moreover, on the eve of Sunday? One of the first labours of a Reformed Parliament will, I trust, be a better regulation of its present preposterous hours of public business. What, but absurd custom, reconciles the minds of our public men to entering on the discussion of the great affairs of state at a feverish after-dinner hour in the evening, when honest villagers are retiring to rest; and often not concluding a debate till the lark and the labourer are abroad in the field in the morning? On a recent visit to London I was several times astonished, upon the breaking up of a party at eleven o'clock in the evening, to hear gentlemen say, "I must just drive down to the House and see what is going on." There wants a "radical" amendment of the whole system throughout the country; a "sweeping measure," a "revolutionary reform :" not lopping off fractional minutes from our excesses, but putting the clock several hours forward, and reverting to the sober, healthful, industrious, cheerful, and anti-nervous hours of our forefathers. Is there no patriot, no friend of morals or religion, no statesman, no divine or physician, who will devote him2 F
self to the accomplishment of this important object?
ALLEGED RIGHTS OF ECCLESIASTICAL PATRONS.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. I REGRET to find, that, among the many incumbrances with which the new church-building bill is clogged, it is proposed that fees shall for ever be paid to the parish church for baptisms, marriages, and churchings, solemnized at the new chapels. Such a stipulation will be a most serious evil to posterity, and add greatly to the existing difficulties in the way of a proper adjustment of the pastoral charge to the wants of the population. It is a regulation wholly uncalled-for by any claim of law or equity. Neither the patron of a living, nor any future incumbent (for it would be only fair to make a compensation to incumbents actually in possession), has, I conceive, any legal or moral right to the fees for duties which he does not and cannot perform. A parish, we will suppose, was endowed with tithes and glebe when it contained a thousand inhabitants, for whom one church and one clergyman were found amply sufficient. In process of time, by the introduction of trade and manufactures, the population, we will suppose, has increased to ten thousand. The incumbent, and also the patron (so far as the value of the patronage is concerned), have the advantage of the consequent large rise in the value of the glebe and tithes, and also such additional fees and dues as accrue from the discharge of the church duties; but as a new church has now become necessary, it is not justice, either that the population should be deprived of one, or that the minister who discharges its duties should give up a portion of his scanty emoluments in aid of his reverend brother's already much augmented resources.
The glebe and tithes justly remain. where they were; but the emolument resulting from directly personal services should, in fairness, go to him who performs them; the only claim for a larger income from an increase of population being that the labour is proportionably increased; but if that labour cannot now be properly discharged by the incumbent, and a new church and clergymen have become necessary, the claim, in honesty, ceases. claim to fees for services which it is acknowledged cannot be performed, stands on no basis of equity: nor is it equitable to say, "We are willing to perform those particular acts which bring a fee, though we cannot discharge the pastoral duties of adequate visiting, instruction, and spiritual supervision." The true view of the case is widely different, and the equity wholly on the other side. The inhabitants of a parish, it appears to me, have a moral right to say to the patron, "The emoluments of the living are for the purpose of supplying all the spiritual wants of the parish: are you willing to provide for them?" The patron replies, "It is impossible, in an overgrown parish like this: there would need one or more new churches, and two or three additional clergymen ; and who is to pay the expenses?" "But have not the emoluments," say the parishioners, "increased with the increase of population?" "They have considerably increased," rejoins the patron; "land having become more valuable; but they have not increased in proportion to the increase of population. I am willing to see that the pastoral duties are performed for as many persons as were included in the parish when the arrangement was first made; but there is no moral claim for a larger number, except so far as the increase of numbers has increased the revenues." "Well, then," reply the parishioners, "as you do not consider yourself bound to provide for the new comers, you have no claim on them for fees: we will
therefore exonerate you from finding pastoral superintendance for more than you undertake for, and the surplus number will build a church for themselves, and pay their own minister; not, however, subtracting their tithes from the old church, but of course not paying fees to it for services performed elsewhere." I have supposed the conversation to pass with the patron: for though it virtually applies to the incumbent also, yet it would be a hardship to alter the circumstances under which he took the preferment, so as materially to diminish his income; and it would therefore be equitable to make some mutual arrangement for his life, but not to extend it to his successor. The patron is thus the only person who could urge any complaint, and I feel assured that his complaint is not founded in reason or justice. He can transfer all that he or his forefathers bought; but no man could have any title to sell fees to be exacted for services which could not be performed, or for a population which the emoluments of the living were not intended to provide for.
I most earnestly implore those bishops, clergymen, and laymen, who feel interested in the subject, to take this particular point into serious consideration. Let them weigh the evils to posterity of the proposed arrangement; and then inquire maturely, whether there is any overwhelming claim of justice or equity, any thing beyond a wish to conciliate patrons in what is not their right, that can be urged in favour of it?
A FRIEND TO EQUITY.
GRIEVOUS COMPLAINT OF THE
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
as they are, are equal to mine. Saturday, it is true, is overworked, like a slave; but he is not ridiculed and taunted like your present correspondent. No sooner do I make my appearance, than the very boys in the streets run after me with mockery and contempt. I am sent on idle errands; water is squirted in my face; falsehoods are told in my name; letters vulgarly called hoaxing, are signed with my signature; and every puerile and malicious trick is put in practice to render me obnoxious.
I should not, however, complain, at least in your pages, of merely a little ridicule, which, however puerile or vexatious, I could bear, as no person, beyond the intellect of a clown or the growth of a schoolboy, would be guilty of such extravagance. But I am quite serious in saying, that these foolish vanities interfere with my lawful calling, and sometimes deprive me of a whole day's work and wages. This year, my birth-day falling on a solemn occasion, I was not so much molested as usual; but at other times I have been tossed about like a vagrant on the earth, no one choosing to have intercourse with me. I have known a committee put off, to avoid my company; I have seen a whole body of workmen, who were to begin building a house, sit idle till I had passed by, that they might not be laughed at as my companions; Lady's grand party was spoiled by my name being on her card, many of the company thinking the invitation only a jest; a fleet equipped for sea, and in great haste, waited twelve hours, and lost a fair wind-the admiral remarking, that, if he did not remain till I had departed, it would be said he had gone out on a fool's errand; and a great statesman, in proposing an unpopular measure, there being no day open but my birth-day, waited a week for his motion, to avoid the ridicule of connecting himself with
Now all this, though it may ap
pear a matter of little moment in each particular instance, is important in the aggregate. I seriously assert, sir, that business, private and public, is often impeded by this idle and pagan prejudice against a poor persecuted creature, who never vexed or injured any person, living or dead. Some, who do not openly partake of the laugh against me, encourage it by a cowardly connivance : even so strong-minded a man as Mr. would not, or perhaps his bride would not, be married on my birth-day-at least they thought it as well to choose the next day; and when I mentioned this to a Reverend friend, he told me that he scarcely ever solemnized a marriage on that occasion; and on looking at our parish register, though as many persons are born on one day as another, much fewer are baptized on this day than either on the day before or after. What, then, I would respectfully urge, upon all who listen to my humble complaint, is, to discard this unworthy prejudice, and not to be deterred in proposing a party, a committee, a marriage, or any other appointment, by a smile, that may follow as soon as my unfortunate name is mentioned. In doing which they will vindicate the rights and alleviate the sufferings of your sorrowful correspondent,
THE FIRST OF APRIL.
IRELAND UNPOLLUTED WITH THE GUILT OF SLAVERY.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. Ir may not be known to your English readers, that their ancestors owed their enfranchisement from slavery to the efficacy of Christian principles in Ireland, so late as the twelfth century. Our forefathers used to sell their countrymen, and, when pressed with poverty, even
their own children, to the Irish ; and the port of Bristol, which lately sent out so many ships to lade human flesh in Africa, was then equally distinguished as a market for the same commodity, though of a different colour. But when Ireland, in the year 1172, was afflicted with public calamities, the clergy and people of that generous nation began to reproach themselves with the unchristian practice of purchasing, and holding in slavery, their fellow-men, although natives of an island from which they had begun to suffer great injuries. They did not regard the crimes of a less enlightened people as any sanction for their own; and therefore their English slaves, though fairly paid for, were, by an unanimous resolution of an assembly held at Armagh, chiefly composed of the clergy, set at liberty. This generous reformation, be it observed, did not stop with abolishing the trade. Penitence dictated not merely future abstinence from wrong, but present restitution to the injured.
About six hundred years after this righteous and honourable resolution, the representatives of the same country convened, not at Armagh but at Westminster, gave a noble testimony of the abhorrence of Ireland to the opprobrious traffic. On Mr. Wilberforce's first motion, after the Union, for the abolition of the Slave Trade, he was supported by all the Irish members present; and they formed thirty-five votes in a majority of one hundred and twentyfour. No vessel engaged in the African Slave-trade ever cleared out from an Irish port; nor, as far as can be known, were the harbours of Ireland ever polluted by a Guineaman. The sense of the nation is decidedly hostile to the continuance of Negro Slavery, and the demonstration of public feeling is becoming every day more powerful.