reasons why he should withhold wills, for his will is not only the explanation, and refer them to highest law, but the perfection of their knowledge of his character reason. The parable, therefore, so to conclude that he acted rightly. far fails; but it only fails as all But the chief object of the pre

finite similitudes must fail of setsent remarks was to suggest one ting forth the properties of the Insingle point, which has been over- finite. We cannot think literally looked in the parable, and the no- of a “householder" dispensing his tice of which obviates the only real property, without remembering difficulty. That difficulty is in rea- that he is spiritually a steward to soning from man to God, and from a Higher Power, and also a member God to man.

Man is in a degree of the human family; but God has accountable to his fellow-creatures, over Him no master. The parable as a member of the human family, is thus only a proximate resemfor the moral aspect of his actions: blance, for analogy cannot go furhe cannot even appear toact caprici- ther. The householder was not ously without feeling that his neigh- legally responsible : the inference bours, in proportion as they respect is, that God is not morally so. his character, naturally seek an ex

O. S. planation of his conduct; apparent moral incongruity would be a blot upon his public fame. But God is not accountable, either, so to speak, morally or legally ; and the parable, if examined carefully, leads us To the Editor of the Christian Observer. to this very distinction, for it speaks of the “householder " and of his In considering the first chapter of “ steward,” and what is said of the Genesis, an idea occurred to me, one does not apply to the other. which, if found to be reasonable, Had the steward acted as his might remove some of the difficul, master acted, he would have been ties which are said to have arisen bound to explain to his master the in attempting to reconcile the discause of his seeming caprice, be- coveries in modern geology with cause he was dispensing the pro- the Mosaic account of the creation. perty of another ; but the house. Not that I attach much importance holder was dispensing his own. to the objection; for the MosaicacNow the above-mentioned objec- count is much toobrief and general tions tacitly substitute the steward to be subject to the proof either of for the householder. When the positive consistency or inconsistobjector, speaking of the parable ency with any system which may as a literal history, finds fault with be inferred from geological disthe lord of the vineyard, it is from coveries; but I am not aware that a feeling that he was morally, though sufficient attention has been given not legally, accountable for his ac- to it, and particularly to the second tions ; that not only ought an act verse, where it is said, “ the earth to be right, but that it ought also to was without form and void,anddarkjustifyitself to the popular sense; and ness was upon the face of the deep." this idea of accountability involves The Septuagint may be translated, the notion of stewardship in the in- “the earth was invisible and unfurdividual, and also that no man lives nished.” Both expressions appear or dies to himself. But when we to imply that the earth had a prerefer the parable to the Almighty, vious existence. It is true, the this idea does not apply, for he first verse says that “God created is not accountable : he is not a the heavens and the earth;” but steward, but the householder : he

we may suppose that it was not on has only to do what he himself one of the days of the Mosaic crea

tion; for it is said, the heaven and the earth, and the earth to take its the earth were created “in the be- annual course round the sun. And ginning;” and this verse has not in that case the sixteenth verse the invariable announcement of the should be in a parenthesis, in heavenly day's works, as it may be which the creation of all the greater called, “And God said.”

and lesser lights is recapitulated, as Now, if it be admitted that the they were all necessary to comearth had a pre-existence, may it plete the signs and the seasons, not have been inhabited by those and so to perfect the Divine artribes of animals whose remains rangements for the rule of the day have been discovered? And may and the night as to induce him it not have been overwhelmed by to pronounce that it was good. the waters of a flood, and have been And perhaps it is worth observing. made void? And may not the light that when God illumines the sun of the sun have been darkened, by his Divine word, and simply di. and darkness cast upon the face vides the light from the darkness, of the deep? It may be said, that the fact is only stated; but when the creation of the sun was part of he completes his merciful arrangethe work of the fourth day: but I ment of signs and seasons for the cannot think that reasonable ; for use and comfort of man, he promay we not suppose it was the re- nounces it is good. volution of the earth on its axis I would make only one remark which divided the light from the more. God said, “Let the earth darkness, and created even the bring forth grass, the herb yieldfirst day? But if we admit that ing seed after his kind, and the the sun (though, like the earth, it fruit tree yielding fruit;" and it is was originally created by God) had added, “And the earth brought forth an existence previous to the Mo- grass, and the herb yielding seed;" saic creation; when the Almighty the waters, too,“brought forth the command went forth “ Let there living creatures that have life, and be light," the sun was instantly the fowls that flyin the open

firmailluminated; and the same Divine ment of heaven;" and God comauthority causing the earth to re- manded the earth "to bring forth volve on its axis, the light was di- the living creature after his kind;" vided from the darkness. And this and it is added, “God created every does not appear to be inconsistent living creature that moveth, which with the mention of the sun on the the waters brought forth abunfourth day, when God said, “Let dantly," and God made the beast of there be lights in the firmament of the earth after his kind. We have heaven, to divide the day from the here a regular gradation. In order night.” If it be necessary that the to produce the vegetable tribes, sun should have been created on the Divine Word merely endued this day, it is equally necessary the earth with the powers of vegethat the light should then, for the tation : He also commanded the first time, be divided from the waters to bring forth abundantly darkness, but indisputably that the moving creatures, and that the was performed on the first day; and earth should bring forth the living why, therefore, may not the sun creatures after his kind ; but these have been created on the first day? were also created. Of man alone and then the work of the fourth it is simply said,

« God created day will be the appearance of a man in his own image,” after a plurality of lights, when the moon Divine consultation, which deterwas created, and they were ap- mined that he should have domipointed “for signs and for seasons, nion over the whole creation. and for days and years;" themoon

X. being then ordained to move round









got it, or took for granted, without

reference to the rubric, that, being CHARLES'S MARTYRDOM. a fast service, it was not to be used To the Editor of the Christian Observer. quaintance pleads that he did not

on Sundays: and one of my acIn these days of restless innova- know that the order of council, tion, a man who is attached to the which lapses with the reignin which cause of religious and political it is given, had been renewed by order scarcely dares open his lips his present Majesty. The feeling to propose the most innocent and both of the clergy and Jaity is so necessary amendments, lest he strong on this subject, that the should give countenance to the order ought not in future to be agents of misrule and destruction. revived, and I trust will not. In I must, however, in the face of this acts of national humiliation, it is observation, express the pain I have of the first importance that the felt this month in performing the public feeling shall go along with septennial task (for I speak of the them, otherwise they are but a soSunday recurrence of the service) lemn mockery. of reading the form of humiliation on the Martyrdom of Charles the First. Without entering into any political discussion as to the service itself, it appears quite clear that it has long since become obsolete, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. and that it can scarcely be read with proper feelings by the minister, In reply to an inquiry which I have or listened to with patience by the heard made among some of my clehearer. Unhappily, the service rical brethren, whether, in the event being specially directed to be read of the public authorities not instion Sunday, contrary to the usual tuting a day of fasting and humilihabit for fast days, the clergy had ation, as many among us have dethis year no option but to use it. sired, it would be proper for those The language of the service was, to of the clergy and laity who are say the least, strong, even when it anxious for the measure to fix pubwas first penned; but nearly two licly upon a day for that purpose centuries after the event it becomes among themselves, I request perexaggerated, unnatural, and, to mission to refer my Reverend nine-tenths of the people, unintel- Brethren to the seventy-second ligible. My farmers and labourers, Canon, which is quite explicit I am sure, could make little of it, upon the question. The clergy except that it was a service ap- differ widely in opinion respecting pointed by Lord Grey and Lord the proposed measure of a national Brougham, about the rick burnings fast at the present moment; but and machine breakings. I do not they must all, I should think, see specify particular passages, but re- the wisdom of the Church in the fer to the whole tenor of the office. regulation to which I allude, and Ought not the Privy Council to re- upon their oath of canonical subscind the obligation to read this mission they are bound to obey it. service, which does not rest upon The canon enjoins, that “no miAct of Parliament, or form any part nister or ministers shall, without of the Prayer-book, but is merely the licence and direction of the enjoined from reign to reign by an bishop of the diocese first obtainAct of Council. Many of the clergy ed and had, under his hand and omitted it this year of their own seal, appoint or keep any solemn discretion, but they have no such fasts, either publicly or in any pridiscretion given them: others for- vate houses, other than such as by

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

law are, or by public authority shall lation of apostolical order, and
be, appointed; nor shall be willingly cheerful submission for conscience
present at any of them; under pain sake to the powers that be.
of suspension for the first fault,

excommunication for the second,
and deposition from the ministry
for the third."

This canon does not, of course, interfere with acts of private humiliation ; but most properly does

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. it inhibit partial associations of Ix endeavouring to reply to the reclergymen, for a purpose which, quest of Clericus Lancastriencis, in however excellent in itself, the ma- the latter part of his letter in your jority of their brethren,and the con- number for December, I shall not stituted authorities of their church, attempt to furnish the hymns and do not, under all the circumstances, prayers which he solicits. Of consider well-timed or desirable. hymns there exists such a variety, The question of a national fast at that a proper selection can hardly the present season may, probably, be a point of difficulty; and the before these lines reach the eye of constant use of the same, however your readers, have been authori- excellent the choice, cannot be retatively settled; and I, for one, commended. Let me not bethought should rejoice to find it settled in to deviate from a regard to due the affirmative; but if not, the order, if I recommend that the duty of those of the clergy who prayer be extemporaneous; sober are anxious for the solemnity, is, however, serious, fervent, conI think, clear;—not to foment a densed, and connected with the spiritof division or disorder, in their instructions of the hour. It ought promotion even of a good object; to be considered as discreditable but in secret, without ostentation to a clergyman not to have acquiror invidious association, to humble ed some facility in such a habit, themselves before God for the by use in his closet, his family, and transgressions of the land, and to at the bed-side of the sick. At all endeavour to stir up a kindred events, each clergyman who atspirit among their flock;-a spirit tempts the plan recommended by far more likely to be attended with the Bishop of Chester may draw a blessing than disparaging their up a prayer suitable to his own cirbrethren or their rulers as insen- cumstances, from which he may sible to the national sins, because vary as he sees occasion. Incomthey do not concur with them in petency to frame a suitable form, this particular measure. Popular would argue little competency for meetings and petitions to Parlia- the undertaking with which it is ment to effect a spiritual object, connected, and which is confessedly are apt, through a frailty of our one of the most arduous, delicate, nature, to degenerate into weapons and important efforts of the minisof earthly mould, and to take a try. If I should be wrong in my colouring of party spirit. Let us view, probably some other corresbeware of this, and not seek, aspondent will supply the liturgical it were, by clamour, to force our help requested. rulers, civil or ecclesiastical, into Although I have had some, yet it any measure the value of which has been so limited an experience, depends on its religious character. in this department of my work, that, This caution does not interfere with had I not been encouraged by a a proper degree of public excite- more sufficient judgment than my ment; but it comes in where the own, I should not have solicited an excitement would lead to the vio- appearance in your pages as a guide

the ibe


to others, when I am conscious of knowledge. I requested that none having myself much to learn. I would join the class reluctantly. In will arrange my remarks under two fact, I endeavoured to put the inheads—the formation of the classes, dividuals assembled rather into the and the management of them—al- position of receiving, than of conthough it is only to the latter, ferring, an obligation. A remark, strictly speaking, that your corres- which I made at the first time of pondent refers. The former, how the class meeting, “that I expectever, may suggest hints to those ed myself to derive great improvewho have the plan yet to commence. ment from reading the Scriptures

In reference to the first point, with them," produced very consithe catechumens whom it is wish- derable effect. What was simply ed to assemble are unmarried truth, was received as condescension, young persons, between the ages of and I could perceive that their opifourteen or fifteen, and twenty-five nion of the importance of our emor twenty-six. The first difficulty, ployment was instantly raised. generally, will be to get them as- The second point which I desire sembled once; to obtain a nucleus to notice is, the management of the around which new accretions may classes. The first question will form. If the difficulty exists, it be, When shall the classes may be possibly surmounted in this meet?” In a large sphere, or in a way. Let one or two individuals, public situation, the Sunday is preof the highest class of such as can occupied. In more retired posibe expected to attend, and if pos- tions, a part of that day may be sible of the age of twenty-four most profitably appropriated to this or twenty-five, be engaged first: labour of love and hope. There is younger lads and men will be more in all cases, however, this advaneasily induced, and consider it ho- tage in the choice of an evening in nourable, to join a class composed the middle of the week, that it seof those just above them in age and cures some recollection and imstation. The young women will be pression of Divine truth amidst the more easily assembled under the active employments of life;—a cirminister's wife or daughter, or any cumstance well adapted to corroother female of piety, capacity, borate any impressions produced judgment, and zeal, whom he may by the public labours of the Sabselect. It is of the first moment, bath. The time I have approprithat the classes of young men and ated to the work is the Tuesday women should be kept perfectly evening, from seven till a quarter separate and distinct; and watch- past eight o'clock. An hour and a fulness on this head is indispen- quarter I consider to be amply sufsable. In collecting a class of ficient for the object. Interest in young men, the only plan is by invi- the employment is its life. The imtation, allurement, and interesting pression with which theclass should the minds of the few with whom separate, ought to be that of surthe beginning is made. A drop of prise that the time has passed so honey, as Mr. Bridges justly quotes quickly and pleasantly. If the in this connection, will catch more service be protracted to the point flies than a pint of vinegar. I of weariness, no good is done, and set out with giving the class the the plan will fail. On this account character of a privilege. I spoke to I have no singing in my class of a few persons more immediately in young men. In the female class, connection with the young men, which is managed by one of my fagiving a sketch of my plan, and in- mily, the singing, however, is inviting any to attend who were de- troduced, and the service is in a sirous of availing themselves of the slight degree prolonged. If the opportunity of gaining scriptural business is commenced with prayer,

« VorigeDoorgaan »