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a bishop can execute; and the suspension of these, for a period of twelve or eighteen months, which must happen as often as the see becomes vacant, is an evil of enormous weight, especially in a diocese of such vast magnitude. Besides, it is perfectly obvious that a government carried on by substitutes, or representatives, must always be comparatively deficient in promptitude and efficacy. No merely temporary or delegated authority, whether ecclesiastical or civil, can be exercised with the same vigour as if it were original, or command, in the same degree the respect and confidence of the public."
The Apostolic precept is, "Let all things be done decently and in order;" but disorder and confusion must inevitably be the effect of such a system as this. Our best and most pious men may go forth one by one, hazarding their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet still the spiritual wants of vast numbers of professed Christians will be unsupplied; still no concentrated and effectual assaults will be made on the kingdom of Satan: they may, they must sink under the overwhelming pressure of cares and anxieties far too heavy for any individual to sustain, yet, each as he falls, must feel the melancholy and not altogether groundless conviction, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vain," since little will or can be done in comparison to what might be effected, if the labour were duly apportioned. "The love of money is the root of all evil;" and to this in some measure are to be attributed the deficiencies in our church establishment in India. The greatly needed division of the diocese would entail an additional burden on the finances of the Company, who, sooner than part with a small portion of their wealth, allow this waste of valuable lives, and suffer multitudes to perish for lack of knowledge. But will no one remind them of "the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive?" Will no one "charge
them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works?" Will no one point out the obligations they are under to spread the blessings of the Gospel as far as they are able, among the millions who have submitted to their power. Let a bishop with a moderate allowance be appointed to each presidency, that the word of God may have free course. and be glorified: order and discipline will thus be established and maintained among professed Christians; encouragement and support will be afforded to those who labour in the work of converting the heathen; and as the cause of Christ extends itself, a feeling of regard and affection for their conquerors will be kindled and kept alive in the hearts of the people, not otherwise to be purchased at any price.
If then you have the good of Zion at heart, if you wish well to the missionary cause, cry aloud, and spare not," put forth all your strength to hasten the time when the voice of humanity as well as duty shall be heard, and the overburthening toil and responsibility of this immense diocese be apportioned conformably to its separate political divisions. B. C. S.*
• We heartily concur in the suggestion of our correspondent; but he must have read our pages very cursorily, not to know how often and earnestly we have urged the same point. It is of great moment at the present time in reference to the approaching question of the renewal of the East-India Company's Charter; and we trust that the friends of religion in the Church of England will strenuously exert themelves, whether by petitions or otherwise, to secure so important an object. Our correspondent would find his arguments derived from Mr. Le Bas's Life of Bishop Middleton greatly strengthened by Mr. James's interesting Memoir of his brother, the late Bishop James of Calcutta. We need not add the name of Heber: and may we never have occasion to add, as another victim, the name of that much loved and respected prelate Dr. Turner.
ANCIENT LATIN HYMN.
For the Christian Observer.
ARCHBISHOP USHER transcribed the following hymn, written in monkish Latin rhymes, from a manuscript copy in the Cottonian library. It appears to have been written by Hildebert, Bishop of Anomanum or Mans, in the twelfth century. A good metrical version of these " rythmos elegantissimos," as Usher calls them, from the pen of some of your poetical correspondents, would, I doubt not, gratify many of your readers, as well as your obedient servant,
Extra portam jam delatum, Jam fœtentem, tumulatum,
Vitta ligat, lapis urget : Sed, si jubes, hic resurget: Jube, lapis revolvetur; Jube, vitta disrumpetur; Exiturus, nescit moras; Postquam clamas, Exi foras In hoc salo mea ratis Infestatur a piratis : Hinc assultus, inde fluctus : Hinc et inde mors et luctus. Sed tu, bone nauta! veni; Preme ventos, mare leni; Fac abscedant hi piratæ, Duc ad portum, salva rate. Infoecunda mea ficus, Cujus ramus, ramus siccus, Incidetur, incendetur, Si promulgas, quod meretur. Sed hoc anno dimittatur, Stercoretur, fodiatur ; Quod si necdum respondebit; Flens hoc loquor, tunc ardebit. Vetus hostis in me furit, Aquis mersat, flammis urit : Inde languens et afflictus Tibi soli sum relictus, Ut hic hostis evanescat, Ut infirmus convalescat; Tu virtutem jejunandi Des infirmo, des orandi Per hæc duo, Christo teste, Liberabor ab hac peste. Ab hac peste solve mentem, Fac devotum pœnitentem : Da timorem, quo projecto, De salute nil conjecto.
Da spem, fidem, charitatem; Da discretam pietatem : Da contemptum terrenorum, Appetitum supernorum. Totum, Deus! in te spero; Deus, ex te totum quæro. Tu laus mea, meum bonum, Mea cuncta, tuum donum. Tu solamen in labore, Medicamen in languore, Tu in luctu mea lyra, Tu lenimen es in ira. Tu in arcto liberator, Tu in lapsu relevator: Metum præstas in provectu, Spem conservas in defectu. Si quis lædit, tu rependis; Si minatur, tu defendis; Quod est anceps, tu dissolvis; Quod tegendum, tu involvis. Tu intrare me non sinas Infernales officinas; Ubi moeror, ubi metus; Ubi foetor, ubi fletus; Ubi probra deteguntur ; Ubi rei confunduntur; Ubi tortor semper cædens, Ubi vermis semper edens; Ubi totum hoc perenne, Quia perpes mors Gehennæ. Me receptet Siou illa, Sion David urbs tranquilla ; Cujus faber auctor lucis, Cujus portæ signum crucis ; Cujus claves lingua Petri, Cujus cives semper læti, Cujus muri lapis vivus, Cujus custos Rex festivus. In hac urbe lux solennis; Ver æternum, pax perennis In hac odor implens cœlos, In hac semper festum melos. Non est ibi corruptela; Non defectus, non querela: Non minuti, non deformes; Omnes Christo sunt conformes. Urbs coelestis, urbs beata. Supra petram collocata: Urbs in portu satis tuto, De longinquo te saluto; Te saluto, te suspiro. Te affecto, te requiro. Quantum tui gratulentur, Quam festive conviventur; Quis affectus eos stringat, Aut quæ gemma muros pingat, Quis chalcedon, quis jacinctus; Norunt illi, qui sunt intus. In plateis hujus urbis, Sociatus piis turbis, Cum Moise et Elia, Pium cantem alleluia.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Sermons on the Amusements of the Stage, preached at St. James's Church, Sheffield. By the Rev. T. BEST, A.M. 5s. 6d. Sheffield. 1831.
"WHAT harm can there be in harmless amusement? What more innocent than innocent recreation? What more sober than a sober tragedy? And where can be the im
morality of a good moral play?" Something very like this is often heard, with a tautological iteration which takes for granted the very points to be proved, and gives no better reason to shew that the deprecated practice is lawful than a gratuitous assumption that it But after all such arguments, it is quite certain that the great body of religious and exemplary persons in every age have instinctively avoided and condemned many of the recreations current in ordinary society, especially play-going, and with a range of prohibition proportioned to their own advancing spirituality of character. This, to say the least, is no hopeful presumption in favour of the litigated indulgences.
It must to a Christian mind be argument sufficient against theatrical amusements-as such amusements ever have been, and are ever likely to be conducted that "these things are not of the Father, but of the world." A higher, a more convincing, a more affecting reason, cannot surely, and needs not be, produced. If any man will gravely argue, that these things are not of the world, and are of the Father, it will then be requisite to shew by facts that his hypothesis is untenable: but till then we feel inclined to take the matter for granted; for sure we are, that if it is to be decided by the sensibilities of a spiritually-minded man, there will be no difference of opinion. It is only because "all men have not faith," and those who have not, proffer arguments in excuse for their worldliness of spirit, that any question needs be held upon a matter so obvious as the unchristian and demoralizing character of the stage. What it might be under certain supposed circumstances of refinement, which never have practically existed, or are likely to exist, it is unnecessary for us now to discuss. We deal with facts as we find them, and, to all who value supremely their eternal salvation, those facts are abundantly lucid. Men are ashamed to be disciples of Jesus
Christ; otherwise there would be little room for any discussion, to prove that our theatrical entertainments are utterly opposed to the spirit of our holy religion.
Still, however, as plausible excuses are currently offered in palliation of this popular immorality, we ought to feel very grateful to those, who, like the author whose work lies before us, have exerted themselves with great zeal and diligence to guard the puplic against this insidious snare. Mr. Best has long been honourably distinguished in this cause, in the sphere and neighbourhood of his ministrations; and his labours, as we understand, have, by the blessing of God, been attended with signal success. For about fourteen years, we believe, he has preached an annual sermon on the subject; and his faithful arguments and appeals have attracted great attention in Sheffield, and powerfully tended, it is said, to open the eyes of the public as to the serious evils of stage entertainments, and to diminish the number of attendants upon them.
Several of his dis
courses have, we believe, been published either as tracts or in the local newspapers; but the present collection is printed with the author's permission by an individual, once much attached to the drama, but who, having been convinced by Mr. Best's arguments, is auxious that they should be brought under the consideration of others who have not yet seriously reflected upon the subject. ject. The publication being thus extorted from the author, not by his own estimate of its value, but impartially, and for the public benefit, we should receive it with indulgence, if it needed it but it needs it not, as it is throughout an honest, scriptural, reasonable, and, we may add, not exaggerated appeal; simple, earnest, convincing, and well worthy of a faithful minister of Jesus Christ.
We proceed to cite a few of the writer's arguments.
The following passage in the first sermon relates to the point which
we have above touched upon namely, the contrariety of the theatre to that spirituality of mind which is an essential part of the Christian character.
"No man can have a good hope that he is going to heaven, unless he has a growing taste and tendency of mind for those things which are to constitute his future employment and happiness. Now, I
would not condemn the theatre because it does not promote these feelings, but because it is incompatible with them ;the two things cannot subsist together;and if any individual, possessing spiritual feelings and heavenly desires, were to attend the theatre, its direct and sure
effect would be to deaden and destroy them. In shewing that the stage is opposed to spirituality of mind, I would not refer particularly to the injurious effect which would be produced upon the religious feelings by the company-the conversation-the gaiety of the general scene, because the theatre shares this evil with almost every other species of worldly dissipation; but I would refer to the peculiar gratification of the stage-its own proper pleasure. The mind is powerfully affected by some creation of a vain fancy-the feelings are roused--the passions stimulated the imagination heated; and during this paroxysm of mental excitement, life is transformed into a dream, and is embellished with various impraeticable and unattainable pleasures, and the scenes which are spread before the ardent
and youthful mind are as flattering as they are false; and when this intellectual fever subsides, it leaves the mind relaxedweakened-wearied-unfitted for ordinary employments, and sick of sober realities, and, like an appetite vitiated by highly seasoned food, requiring a constant succession of stimulants; and hence that ardent and insatiable desire after the works of novel-writers, dramatists, and every and any kind of composition which is calculated to pamper and please the imagination, which an attendance on the theatre often excites and always strengthens in young persons; and this desire will be in proportion to the quickness of perception and susceptibility of excitement, which the mind possesses; so that young persons of the greatest intellectual promise are generally the first to feel this pernicious effect of theatrical amusements.
"Here then is another reason why all who truly desire to act consistently with their professed principles, will carefully abstain from such amusements; because their influence is directly opposed to that sobriety and spirituality of mind which the Sacred Scriptures so earnestly enforce, and for the preservation of which the most serious Christian has constant
need to watch and pray that he enter not into temptation." pp. 15-17.
The author then specifies several Christian graces; such as humility, contentment, and a forgiving spirit; and shews how directly the stage tends to weaken and destroy them, and to foster the contrary dispositions. The very virtues of the drama, he shews, are antichristian; so that even the avowedly good man of the play, the moral man, the man who is held up for imitation, is opposed to the Christian character as exhibited in the word of God, and to left us an example that we should the image of that Saviour who hath tread in his steps. The spirit, the maxims, the objects, the motives of the applauded dramatic character are irreconcileable to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and to the course of his holy life.
What then shall we say of the less reputable characters ?
In the second sermon, from the text "Fools make a mock at sin," we find many proofs of this proposition in its application to the stage. Will any friend of theatrical amusements undertake to confute the following statement? If he will, our pages shall be open to his reply.
"I fear not to affirm, that it is one main part of the business of the stage 'to make a mock at sin.' Sin is there treated lightly and in jest.-The sacred names of God-the profane oath-the dreadful words hell' and damnation'impure allusions all these are uttered as flippantly and as unscrupulously, as though it were no crime to take God's name in vain-to trifle and sport with eternal punishment, and to defile the imagination. And are they not heard with gay and careless indifference, if not with applause and admiration? What can these things mean, but either that sin is not that abominable thing which the Bible describes it to be, or that God will not require it, or that he hath forgotten, and hideth his face and will never see it? What must be the effect of such scenes, but to familiarize the mind to the thought and practice of sin ?-to weaken the sense of its deformity and danger— to break down the remaining scruplesto sear the conscience and to embolden the hesitating youth to commit it with daring presumption, and with a high hand? It is the sure tendency of the theatre to cause sin to be considered rather as a
thing to be laughed at, than as a great and dreadful evil to be constantly hated and feared and fled from." pp. 34, 35.
Nor is this the whole, or the worst; for sin is not only made a mock of, but is gloried in, and especially the sin of licentious profligacy.
not deny this; or that in the motley assemblage at the theatre there are to be found persons of character and good estimation in society. But he justly adds:
"These circumstances, instead of pal
We shall not sully our pages with liating, only increase the evil, and render
proofs; but no man can deny the fact.
The third sermon shews that the theatre is inconsistent with the duty of loving God with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves; of the former part of which it were proof enough that the character of God is holiness,-and of the latter, that the theatre is a destructive engine of vice and immorality.
In the fourth sermon, on the divinely taught prayer, Lead us not into temptation, we find the following passage. Let the frequenter of the play, after reading it, say whether he can continue his accustomed gratification, and yet honestly pray not to be led into temptation.
"There are few dangers so much to be dreaded as those which arise from the opening of a theatre. Were impiety and impurity to appear in all their naked, undisguised, and exceeding sinfulness,they would be less perilous. But the theatre conceals its mischief and its wickedness under a specious and imposing mask. It seems to offer nothing but harmless entertainment;-it comes with very plausible pretences;-it makes very fair professions ;—it is one of those wiles of the devil, in which he has discovered in a peculiar manner, what the Bible calls his 'subtlety. In these amusements there is much to entice and entrap ;-much to excite the tenderest feelings;-much to interest the cultivated mind; there is every thing of outward decoration, and beauty of language, to catch and to gratify the eye and the ear;-and together with all this, moral lessons and virtuous senti
ments are interspersed here and there, which serve to lull and to pacify the conscience. All these circumstances conspire to spread over the theatre a most dangerous fascination. Under all this show of harmless mirth and innocent gratification, however, are concealed the most destructive evils." pp. 63, 64.
We are frequently told of the excellent sentiments inculcated in plays; the scraps of high-toned morality, and magnanimous virtue and exalted sentiment. Mr. Best does CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 355.
it much more to be dreaded. Were the sentiments taught on the stage uniformly and unequivocally contrary to the morality of the Bible;-did the frequenters of the theatre consist only of the abandoned and the profligate; then, this engine of Satan would not be half so successful as it is found to be. In such a case there would be comparatively little need for me to warn the young persons of this congregation against frequenting such a place; you would shun it as you shun the grosser scenes of shameless wickedness, of which you hear and read with unfeigned abhorwith much evil; the interspersing of a rence:-but the mixture of a little good few correct sentiments with that mass of moral poison whose only effect can be to call into active exercise the depravity of the heart; the countenance and support of a few estimable, and, as far as worldly virtue goes, excellent persons; all this serves as a lure to draw many to the theatre, who could not otherwise have been persuaded to enter it, and also as an apology to their consciences when they are there; it furnishes a plausible argument to the advocates of the stage, and is employed to sanction and sanctify all the abominable things with which it is connected." pp. 139, 140.
In answer to the charge of profaneness and sporting with sacred things on the stage, it is often replied, that the reprobation or ridicule is not directed against religion or virtue, but only against hypocrisy and mean and odious vices under a sanctified garb. But does not every man of common understanding perceive what is the real, and we scru ple not to say meditated, effect of this alleged wholesome reprobation and ridicule. Mr. Best truly de