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your time, or that of your readers, I would beg permission to ask only two questions: Is the mode of address which your correspondent deprecates, either so ludicrous, or in any way so objectionable, as he seems to suppose? and, Is it peculiarly chargeable on the junior clergy? In regard to the former of these questions, the answer must entirely depend upon the sanction of usage, which is the proverbial rule and arbiter of language. The supposed address of the cabinet minister would be completely divested of that ludicrous character which it now assumes, had custom rendered such a style common. We are not disturbed by the constant use of the second person plural, when we hear one individual addressing himself to another on the contrary, the more strictly correct mode adopted by the Society of Friends is much more likely to provoke a smile. Surely no mode of address which usage has established ought to be hastily branded as ludicrous, or even objectionable. Now, your correspondent himself allows, for he evidently regrets, that usage actually does prevail in reference to the point under discussion; but his introductory sentence seems to imply that he considers it more peculiarly chargeable upon the junior clergy: I am led, therefore, to give a decidedly negative answer to the second question which I have proposed; in confirming which answer, I shall be at the same time evincing that usage establishes what your correspondent condemns.
Without referring, as I could easily do, to many examples of the pluralism in question, in the sermons of the late Rev. Thomas Scott, Richard Cecil, Joseph Milner, in those of the Rev. D. Wilson, Dr. Wardlaw, and others of distinguished eminence, both within the pale of the Establishment and among the Dissenters, let the following instances, taken from unexceptionable quarters, suffice;-unexceptionable, most assuredly, so far as juvenility
is concerned. In the sermon preached by the Rev. Edward Burn before the Church Missionary Society, at a period when that very able preacher could not exhibit many traces of juvenility, I find him opening his subject in the following words: "Our design, in selecting this passage, is not to claim for modern missions apostolical powers, &c....With this view we proceed to examine the purport of the Apostle's commission, &c.... In examining the purport of St. Paul's commission, we observe," &c. Again: in the recently published lectures of the Rev. T. T. Biddulph, a venerable septuagenarian, I find innumerable instances of such phraseology as the following: “As we shall be required to enlarge on this awful and important subject of original sin, when we discuss the 5th verse of our Psalm, &c.....We shall endeavour to point out the meaning and connexion of the clause, &c.....We shall not make any formal division of the words now before us, but shall consider, &c.....In discussing this branch of our subject, we shall review, &c.....We have ventured to ascribe a more direct prophetic character to the intercession of our text."-Once more: From the Rev. Charles Simeon's Fifteen University Sermons, collected into one volume, and published about three years ago, quotations might be multiplied directly in point; the following extract, however, will, I think, abundantly suffice: it is in the commencement of Sermon viii. : "We now enter upon the second part of our subject. We proposed to inquire into the use of the law. But, without entering distinctly into that point, we endeavoured to call your attention to it by an exposition of its vast importance. We were aware that we should anticipate much which would afterwards be brought forward; and that we should assume, for the present, some things, which, though partially proved, would remain to be afterwards more fully established. Yet we would hope that nothing was adduced without sufficient proof;
and nothing asserted which those who are at all acquainted with the subject would not readily concede. We think it highly probable, that in our subsequent discussions there may also be somewhat of repetition." I have been induced to trouble you, Mr. Editor, with these observations and references, from a conviction that the remarks of Rusticus are both unfair, and--not to speak it offensively somewhat dogmatical. Having been only fifteen years in the ministry, I of course class myself with the younger clergy; but, though I am in the habit of using that pluralism," against which Rusticus inveighs, I must beg to protest, in my own behalf and in that of many others similarly situated, against the charge of "affectation which he has preferred.
I conclude by observing, that I am no more disposed to find fault with the use of the singular number, than Rusticus is to vindicate that of the plural. Whichever is the more correct, it is indisputable that the practice of our best and most able brethren in the ministry abundantly sanctions both. J. K. S.
ON YOUNG PERSONS CONCEALING THEIR RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. THE religious world (I use for distinction's sake this conventional but not desirable phrase) are not, perhaps, in general aware of the extensive progress which religion is making among young persons, and of the serious difficulties which they often meet with, when placed, not by choice, but by the providence of God, among worldly society. In such cases, deterred by the fear of presumption, or want of opportunity, or supposed unseasonableness, from mentioning their opinions beyond the sphere of their own relatives and intimate friends, they are frequently regarded by the large circle of miscellaneous acquaintance as one of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 354.
themselves, or, at least, as differing only in a very slight degree.
Several instances of this kind have come under my personal observation; and one in particular, in which the young Christian was summoned to quit this transitory scene, leaving the greater part of her friends, or rather acquaintance, unconscious of the great change which had been wrought in her heart; and who consequently enjoyed the favour and countenance of many who were unaware of the wide difference in their ideas. These occurrences induce me to inquire, through the medium of your journal, whether, in a matter of such awful importance as our own salvation and the eternal welfare of others, the punctilios of societydeference, respect, and similar notions -ought to be allowed to countenance this reserve? Ought the young Christian to express, to all with whom the intercourse of society may bring him in contact, in season or out of season, that his views and principles do not coincide with theirs, and that he thinks them in a state of danger and error? or is he to appear, by his silence on this subject, and by his obliging and cheerful deportment to all with whom he may converse, as if he had no sense of their irreligious line of life? It will be observed, that I speak only of casual acquaintance, and miscellaneous intercourse; for, in the case of relatives and intimate friends and connexions, no one can doubt that secrecy in such a matter would be plainly criminal: a young person could not truly live "in the world as not of the world" without those of the same household being, more or less, acquainted with the matter.
In the habits of worldly society, opportunities for private converse rarely or never occur: the interviews between ordinary acquaintance, or what are commonly called friends, are generally short and public, and, with the young Christian, almost always in the presence of those who are his superiors in age, experience, or authority. Is he, therefore-(I take 2 X
the case of a young man; but the question applies with even greater force to the case of young women, from the unobtrusiveness which befits their character),-to disguise his sense of the peril which menaces those who surround him, until some special opportunity presents itself for the full declaration of his sentimentsan opportunity which rarely occurs?
and is he to be restrained from addressing a word of exhortation to others on the subject of their souls, from the fear of appearing presumptuous, of doing discredit to the cause of religion by introducing it out of season, or because it is unbefitting for a young person openly to differ in opinion from those who are older than himself? Permit me to ask, When is the subject of religion out of season, so that its introduction might be justly called casting pearls before swine? And since in mixed company no other means are likely to offer, is he justified in remaining silent because these means appear to him unseasonable?
We cannot tell how far it may please God to bless our words, though the circumstances under which they are uttered may seem unpropitious; and the Christian will esteem it a cause for thankfulness if, by the blessing of God, his speech have excited one serious thought in any individual. At the same time, knowing that he must not "do evil that good may come," he will be solicitous to discover when the introduction of his sentiments to others is improper -so manifestly improper as to clear himself from the charge of neglect or false shame. A conscientious person must feel deeply, when it pleases God to remove an immortal being in the midst of a course of levity and thoughtlessness, if he think that he might, by advice or representations, though in common acceptance unseasonable, have been made an instrument in turning that soul from its perilous career.
I should be glad, for the sake of many youthful Christians, if some of your experienced correspondents
could kindly lay down a few rules on this very important subject; and, with every feeling of esteem and respect, I remain, &c. D. E.
For the Christian Observer.
ON THE NEGLECT OF CONGREGATIONAL SINGING.
MANY causes have been assigned for the defective state of our congregational singing, or rather for its not being in general congregational: for, notwithstanding the much-improved aspect of our public services, especially in our towns and cities-for which we cannot be too thankful to Godcongregational singing is not practised in one half, or one fourth part, of our parish churches and chapels. The English, it is said, are not a musical people: which would be a good reason if it were found to apply to the drawing-room as well as the pew, and the Methodist meeting as well as the Church; but this not being the case, there must be other reasons to account for the defect.
The length of our church service is, perhaps, one of those reasons; for neither the minister nor the flock, in general, think it desirable to protract it by much singing; and two or three hasty verses scarcely allow space, or create a taste, for this delightful employment. Many of the Dissenters and Methodists devote far more time to this part of Divine worship than is compatible with our ordinary service.
Another well-known reason is the limitation of our church singing to Sternhold and Hopkins, and Tate and Brady. Whether a clergyman may of his own accord introduce hymns, is one of those ecclesiastical questions which does not to this moment appear to be authoritatively settled. The courts have decided that the right of directing the service is in the minister—that is, as against the churchwardens and parishionersbut the jurisdiction of the Ordinary stands on different grounds. The
matter is argued judicially in the pamphlet on Mr. Cotterill's case before the Chancellor of York; but the exact point is not authoritatively settled, nor, probably, would our courts be very anxious to settle it. Till it is settled the law is conjectural: opinions have been often procured from Doctors Commons, but they are wholly vague and unsatisfactory; and, indeed, such is the uncertainty of our ecclesiastical law, that to get a decided opinion upon any point not ruled by the courts is almost impossible. It seems very doubtful whether a bishop could interfere with effect to prevent the introduction of hymns, unless he could prove that the hymns themselves were contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the Church yet, on the other hand, if he were hostile to the attempt, and the parties were bent upon an appeal to law, the clergyman might very probably find he could not maintain his ground against his diocesan. Much to the honour of our prelates and clergy, such a collision has never yet taken place: for, as often as the point has been agitated, one party or the other has usually relaxed, so as to prevent the disgraceful spectacle of a bishop and his clergy conflicting in a court of law. It might not, however, be amiss to get the question decided by a friendly action.
But there are other causes also; one of which is glanced at in the following passage, which I have copied from a late number of one of our musical periodical publications (the Harmonicon). Coming from such a quarter, the testimony may perhaps be considered of more weight than if proffered in a religious journal.
"The many collections of psalm tunes annually published, and occasionally printed at considerable expense, would naturally lead to an inference that this primitive and truly devotional music is getting more and more into general use, and therefore improving in practice in proportion to its diffusion; for the regular issue of such works implies
purchasers; purchasers ought to imply performers; and performance is almost necessarily followed by improvement. Yet experience does not shew that psalmody has made any progress worth mentioning in our Established places of worship. Congregations, among whom are generally great numbers capable of taking a part in the sacred harmony, rarely, if ever, join voices in it....... treat it as a matter only worthy of a passage through the throats of charity children, or the noses of parish clerks; and, except where professional persons are engaged for the purpose, the psalm tune is now too commonly sung much in the manner in which it was performed half a century ago, when it was stated to be greatly on the decline; and with little of that feeling and effect described by writers at the conclusion of the seventeenth, and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, and extolled as so inspiring and admirable.
"This fact, if it be as we suppose, can only be accounted for by referring to the present state of society, which has produced a sort of nonintercourse among its classes. Though all frequent the same church, or chapel, yet they are divided, in so far as galleries can separate from pews, and pews from benches. The higher orders in one division will not condescend to join in the 'song of praise and thanksgiving' with the middle ranks in another; and these, imitating their superiors, disdain any thing like a voluntary union of voices with those below them, who occupy the humbler seats in the aisles.
"We see no other way in which the disinclination to take a part in the psalm, so openly manifested by most congregations, can be explained. The increased cultivation of music, and the improved state of our organplaying, should have led to a very different result; but that pride, which makes the English, who ought to be the most happy, the least so of any people in civilized Europe, shews itself even in our holy places, where humility, contrition, and gratitude,.
are, we are taught, the great recommendation to that favour which is the sole object of our meetings and supplications.
"That it is not from any want of assiduity in those who have the care of our psalmody entrusted to them, that it is not supported as it might be, is clear from the many valuable works which during the last few years have appeared; and numerous others shew at least zeal in the cause, and a laudable desire to improve that congregational singing, which it is the duty of our clergy to promote and the interest of all who attend places of worship to uphold, by means of an accomplishment which is now become so general, and might be rendered so especially useful in mixing together the various classes of society in one common act of pleasing devotion."
I fear there is too much truth in the above averment. There is a cold stateliness in too many of our churches and chapels, as if it were degrading to worship God in unison, and" in bad taste" to be heard singing his praises, especially in public. Ladies would often be willing to join; but gentlemen too frequently stand, or sit, in statue-like apathy, disdaining to open their lips, and with an air as if the whole service were only a solemn farce.
Oh that He who tuned the harp of the sweet singer of Israel to inspired lays, would warm the hearts and unseal the frozen lips of all our professed worshippers, that they may truly sing to his praise and glory, and unite upon earth in those anthems of adoration to God and the Lamb in which they hope to hymn for ever in the celestial world!
ON THE APOCALYPTIC TRUMPETS.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
(Continued from vol. xxx. p. 736.) THE Spirit of prophecy having, under the fourth trumpet, disclosed to the Apostle the downfal of the Western
empire, next reveals to him the destinies of the Eastern; and the images used are distinctively adapted to the change of scene; the locust being unknown in Europe, but indigenous to Asia, and particularly to Arabia, which is universally understood to be the scene of the next vision. The transition is marked by a pause, and by the introduction of another divine herald denouncing the woes that should be inflicted on the earth on the sounding of the three remaining trumpets. "And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying, with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound!” (Rev. viii. 13.) The flight of the angel through the midst of heaven, may be considered either as simply intimating that the woes foretold were parts of God's providence, and designed by him as judgments upon the earth; or as having a particular relation to the state of religion, and of the Christian Church, of which the heavens appear to be sometimes used as the type, as the earth is made to denote the temporal and political condition of the empire: and it will be seen, that the woe of the fifth trumpet was a heavy judgment, not only in a political, but also in a religious, point of view. In perusing the history of the Eastern empire, the invasion of the Saracens is the first event which arrests the attention, as a fit epoch to be marked out by prophecy. The dominion and majesty of that empire were, indeed, reduced to the lowest state of degradation by the eruptions and insults of the Avars on the west, and the Persians on the east ; and the union of these powers in the time of Chosroes II. threatened the empire with utter extinction; but the genius and intrepidity of Heraclius restored the empire to her former limits, and no permanent consequences ensued from this awful struggle of twenty years' duration (A.D. 607-627), excepting the exhaustion of both