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seized. No charity child, however well he may read, gives so much attention to the sense as he is obliged to give to the words.
trinal discourses, because they convey with them an air of greater research, and serve as vehicles for closer and more interesting argument, I would remark, that religion is not a thing intended merely to captivate the understanding, or to interest the reason."
The language of the cottager abounds in metaphors; and so does ours, but they are taken from very different sources; and those most familiar to ourselves may be unintelligible to him. In using figures, therefore, we must adopt such as belong to the class of readers, or the most obvious of our own.
In sermons, the words are often long and unusual; the sentences are involved; and the sense is confused, from pains to make it clear. A friend of mine asked an old woman what she thought of the sermon she had just heard; she answered, “I dare say it is all very right, but our great clumsy hands cannot take hold of such fine threads; we want a large rope, that we can feel and turn about." What an admirable hint is this to writers and preachers! I am more frequently grieved, in hearing sermons to country congregations, at the complexity of thought, than of expression. The preacher may reject every word beyond two syllables; but if his reasoning require fixed attention, if he have argument, if, in short, he carry on two ideas at a time, half of his congregation will not understand him.
I am aware that poor persons take offence at books that they think “ are not fine enough." This is to be obviated by giving dignity and power to our style; and what is so likely to give it, as clearness and simplicity? It is not necessary to be puerile because we are easy to be understood.
I will conclude by quoting, from books written expressly for the unlearned, a few words and sentences, which may serve as an illustration to the foregoing observations.
"You are all wise enough, and learned enough, to know that he whose boat is upon the sea of life cannot hope to end his voyage without some storms to vex and to affright him
"Wide as the Poles asunder :” "Relative duties:" "Everlasting destinies:" "Enrich your minds with the Epistles, which are a fuller explication of several articles of the Christian faith which were but summarily delivered by our Saviour:"
The decision of eternal truth:" "Vitality of religion:"" Career :" "Amputate:" "Demonstrate:" "Arraigned:"" Palpably," &c. &c.
RIGHTEOUSNESSES OF THE SAINTS, REV. xix. 8. To the Editor of the Christian Observer. FEELING much obligation to you for your judicious and useful observations on Principal Whately's different works, I would ask, whether your reviewer's reference to Rev. xix. 8 (in your Number for April, p. 225), was made with an explicit recollection that the word, though rendered "righteousness" in our national version, is in the plural number? Your learned readers can easily refer to the passages of the Septuagint and the New Testament in which the word occurs. Permit me to solicit the opinion of your able Biblical correspondents, whether, in the plural form, it does not usually follow the analogy of verbal nouns in μa, and denote acts performed? and whether, in the passage alluded to, it is not to be taken in the signification of such acts as evidences of character? Upon this interpretation," the righteousnesses of the saints" may here express their holy deeds, as justifications of their character against the criminations of their Antichristian persecutors. This sense appears to suit the connexion. At the same time, the remark is
To those, again, who love doc- worthy of attention which has been
made by a recent commentator, who does not appear to have any strong predilection for Evangelical sentiments: "Byssinum hoc indumentum candidum justificatio est sanctorum; i. e. sanctos a Deo justos beandosque declarari notat. Aukaupa igitur non est virtus, sed justificatio; quod alibi semper notas." (Ewald, Comm. in Apocal. Leipzig, 1828, p. 288.) I doubt the justness of his concluding assertion; and he seems to overlook that the word here is plural; yet his observation on the strict meaning of the term supports the interpretation which I have ventured to suggest.
To your excellent remarks on the imputation of the Saviour's righteousness, and, in particular, that it cannot be a transferring of the works themselves which were done by him, allow me to add, that it is the effect-that is, the rewards and honours merited-of the perfect obedience of our blessed Lord, which God, the righteous Judge, imputes, reckons, or accounts, to the benefit of all true believers in him. Surely Dr. Whately himself would admit that this is a perfectly conceivable and rational notion. It is simply this: that the Divine Messiah, acting in pursuance of the eternal purpose and infinite grace of the Father, interests himself, in the way of patronage and blessing, on behalf of those among sinful mankind who are distinguished by a certain qualification-namely, an affectionate, entire, and holy reliance upon him for the attainment of the supreme good; that his merit, that quality of deserving which arises from his obedience to the unalterable law, is, in the estimation of Unerring Justice, so great that the highest possible rewards are not more than adequate to it; and that the kind of reward which the Lord Jesus chooses to accept is, not any merely personal honour or aggrandizement, but that which is the dictate of the purest benevolence, the conferring of pardon, renewal to holiness, preservation, and the ultimate perfection of purity
and happiness-in a word, all possible blessings-upon those for whom he thus condescends to interest himself. Thus all sincere believers receive an infinite benefit, which HE had deserved or earned upon the principle of strict equity; which is therefore his, and lies at his disposal; but which to them is a matter of free bounty, of infinitely gracious donation. Thus they are "saved by grace, through faith;" and " grace reigneth, through RIGHTEOUSNESS, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord."
ON THE CAUSES OF DISSENT.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
READING in your Number for the month of March last a paper On the Increase of Dissent in the Parishes of pious Clergyman," signed by a Friend to Fairness," I felt an unpleasant sensation at the lack of fairness evinced in a part of his statement: the part I allude to is that where he takes Manchester (with other towns) as an illustration of his views of the cause of Dissentnamely, want of church room. Now, Mr. Editor, very sure I am that the "Friend to Fairness" knows little or nothing of Manchester, or he would not say that want of church room was the cause of Dissent there. No, sir, I speak from actual knowledge (being myself a Churchman from conscientious conviction), that in Manchester there is abundance of church room; there being no fewer than twenty churches, and the majority can scarcely be said to be one third filled. But, sir,the reason why there should be such abundance of room may be readily accounted for. Were the churches in Manchester supplied with devoted servants of Christ, not ashamed of or afraid to declare the whole counsel of God, as revealed in his sacred word, and as preached by the men who indited the Thirty-nine Articles, the churches would not exhibit, as they now do, almost empty pews.
But, sir, suppose our churches at Manchester were supplied with such men, still a great obstacle exists to their being filled; for this reason, that the labouring classes cannot have admission into many of them, because they have merely been built to accommodate individuals possessing the means of paying for sittings or pews; and some of them are so sumptuously fitted up, that were a poor man to enter in, it would be almost considered a defilement. Where, then, must the poor go, but to chapels, where they will be admitted, and where they may also stand a chance of hearing something profitable to their souls? That our prelates and clergy may be wise to understand the true interests of the Church ere it be too late, is the real wish of a
P.S. I trust that in fairness you will give this communication a place in your miscellany *.
ON COMMUNICATING TO THE DYING A
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
then; for the human mind is variously modified; and no man can predict what will be the effect of any given stimulus or sedative on any particular occasion; and it is possible that the result would be the very reverse of what was anticipated.
We have complied with Churchman's appeal to our fairness, only omitting a few remarks, which, to say the least, were not calculated to promote the desired reformation. As it is, the references are more local than comports with our pages; nor did the statements of our former corres--though not, perhaps, always even pondent refer either in praise or blame to the clergy of any particular town. His object was to shew for what reasons, even where the clergy are exemplary for piety and zeal, Dissent may possibly increase; though much more will it increase where the clergy are otherwise. Without any allusion to the particular town mentioned by Churchman, or any other alleged unfavourable locality, let the reader, in order to bring the question fairly to issue, select such a place as Sheffield, where the clergy are honourably reported of for scriptural doctrine and holy life. Perhaps some of our clerical friends acquainted with Sheffield will answer the following queries: Has Dissent increased in Shef field? If it have, has the increase been only numerical, corresponding to the increase of population; or is it relative, as compared with the ranks of the Church? In either case, what are the causes and consequences of the increase? The dates of the increase might also be significant. We have mentioned Sheffield as a case in point, but not invidiously, as many other places might be specified to which the argument strongly applies.
But, be this as it may, it will not follow that a very different mode of address, offered in a truly Christian, affectionate, and considerate spirit, and properly adjusted to the nervous weakness of the patient, and with faith and prayer to God, would be equally inauspicious. Your other correspondent, QUINQUAGENARIUS, in the same Number, specifies several instances to the contrary, and many others might be added.
But, passing by these general views, the only point to which I would now address myself, in reply
to N., is to remark that religious in which, however, they are generally
hope is itself the best consoler, and restorer, and a far more powerful medicine than even the strongest natural hope of life. I have heard of more than one case in which a physician has said, that, though the mortal frame of a patient appeared quite exhausted, he seemed as if he could not die for the vigour of his spirit; and that the calm-nay joyful-hope of heaven was a stimulus to keep up the sinking body. Was St. Paul brought into danger by knowing that the time of his departure was at hand, when he could say, "I am ready to be offered?" and so of various other Scripture characters, and of the martyrs of Christ and of the faithful in all ages.
It is true, these remarks apply only to the sincere believer; to him who has "a good hope through grace" of eternal blessedness. But even in other cases the communication may have a good effect: though appalling at the moment it may eventually lead to this brighter hope; the startled sinner may be enabled to repose in Christ; and thus, instead of sinking under the announcement, may be sustained by new and unwonted consolations. Besides, owing to physical insensibility, the announcement of death is often much less alarming than might seem probable; so that the patient can scarcely be aroused from his torpor, to think either of his soul or of any thing beyond the bodily want or suffering of the moment.
But, after all, the great question remains. It is not one of mere expediency as to the mortal frame, but one that concerns the eternal interests of the soul. Shall a sinner be suffered to proceed blindfolded into eternity? Should we not even risk something, risk much, to prevent this awful catastrophe? Where such solemn interests are at stake, ought not the truth to be spoken plainly and affectionately, leaving to God the result? This is certainly the view that most pious clergymen, and I believe laymen, take of the subject;
at issue with the medical friends of the patient, including those who are truly religious as well as the scoffer or sceptic. The subject deserves further examination; and particularly by the adduction of actual cases. Quinquagenarius has given us several striking ones: is N. prepared to discard them? or can he invalidate them by testimonies of a contrary character? If not, I think the fair inference is, That which is religiously speaking binding, is me. dically speaking safe.
DEFENCE OF HIGH AND UNEQUAL CLERICAL EMOLUMENTS.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IF I understand correctly the writer who subscribes himself A real Friend to the Church," in your last Number, he considers that too large livings and splendid dignities tempt persons to enter the ministry with secular motives; and that, by "throwing overboard all the partial and splendid baits that attract ambition and avarice," this evil would be prevented. In this I cannot agree with him; for, so long as any maintenance whatever is provided for the clergy, whether ample or scanty, the temptations to enter the ministry will be the same: the only difference is, that they will operate on different descriptions of men. The careless and worldly minded gentleman would no longer be a candidate, but his servant might; and supposing that the sweeping reform, which your correspondent appears to me to propose, should take place, 'there would be then, as now,' to adopt the words of a recent publication, "every possible mixture of motives, both in the same and in different individuals. There would still be some acting chiefly from pure, some more or less from worldly, motives. The only difference would be, that presumptuous ignorance would be in many cases substituted for sound
learning, and a vulgarity, which would tend to degrade religion, for the deportment and conduct of a gentleman. But there would be no lack of prophets ready to pollute the Lord among his people, for handfuls of barley, and for pieces of bread' (Ezek. xiii. 19). If we seek to exclude all possibility of the operation of worldly motives, we must absolutely prohibit the clergy from receiving any emolument. Yet even this would be insufficient, unless motives of vanity also, the desire of being followed and flattered as a fine preacher, could also be precluded. And, in the mean time, we should have incurred the danger of spiritual famine, through the excessive dread of improper food."—("The Right of the Church of England to her Endowments vindicated.")
I feel persuaded that your readers, and I would hope the "Real Friend to the Church," upon mature reflection, will admit the truth of this statement. And if it be objected that persons from the lower orders would be deterred by the expenses of a University education, the majority of the present candidates would choose some other profession; and consequently, instead of being instructed by persons highly respectable in character and attainments, who act up to the average standard of clerical performance, the people would be left totally destitute of moral and religious culture, or the blank thus formed would be filled up by Roman-Catholic or Dissenting teachers. I am no advocate for corrupt systems; but I fear that in this case any great change-such, for instance, as an equalization of income, which your correspondent seems to have in view-would not, I say it with sorrow, in the present constitution of society be a change for the better.
J. F. R.
ON THE PLACE AND MODE OF ADMINISTERING BAPTISM.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. YOUR correspondent DUBITANS requests counsel respecting his anxieties with regard to the proper place
whether the church, the private chamber, &c.-for the performance of the solemn ordinance of Baptism. I would call his attention to one or two circumstances, which I think will prove to his satisfaction, as they have done to mine, that the place is immaterial. John baptized in Jordan; the disciples of our Lord, in Enon; Philip, in a certain water." The Philippian jailor seems to have been baptized in the night; and as there is no mention of his going to any river, or elsewhere, we may suppose that there were circumstances about the prison proper for the administration. However that might have been, these cases shew plainly that the place was not material, and I think ought to satisfy the doubts of your correspondent.
Having endeavoured to clear up the difficulties of your correspondent on one point, perhaps he, or some other of your correspondents, will give us a reason why our clergy, without an exception, set at defiance the instruction of the Prayer-book, which commands that the child should be dipped in the font, unless it is certified that it is weak, and unable to bear it. It is a sad imputation upon us or our children, that there is not one born now-a-days, sufficiently strong to undergo the ordinance in the manner prescribed. I wish to know whether the framers of the Prayer-book were to blame in introducing such an impracticable injunction; or is the blame to be attributed to our officiating clergy for not attending to the duty? W. S. C.