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cidate my own remarks, by citing what a day may bring forth ; and the following extract from the Hi- by so doing expose myself to reproof bernian Bible Society's paper, as as one presuming upon many days occasioned by a recent schism. The to come; or am I to write, “I promise principle in both cases is iden- to pay, if the Lord will, two months tical:-“Should the exclusive prin- after date, the sum of £500 to A. B., ciple be adopted, a multitude of Esq., or order, &c. ?” Am I to questions would immediately offer advertise property in the usual manthemselves, in the course of con- ner; or must I, on pain of being ducting the society's business, to otherwise deemed reckless of the prowhich the committee could find no vidential government of the world, answer in the word of God. For direct my agent to advertise in the example; if it be unlawful to admit Times and Morning Herald, “To be persons who are not really Chris- sold by auction, on the 24th of Octians to the right of membership in tober next, if the Lord will, all that the society, is it lawful to consult estate called C-, consisting of with such, and receive their advice 3550 acres or thereabouts, &c. ?” I and assistance in conducting its va- protest, sir, against the suspicion of rious operations; such as translating putting these illustrations, in order the Scriptures, correcting printed to court a smile or to make ridicule editions of them, or even publishing the test of truth, much less to proand circulating them? Is it lawful fane any scriptural allusion. I adto receive money from such persons? duce them only as fair elucidations Is it lawful to permit them to vote of the question in discussion. It shall in the election of the conductors of be allowed that, on the merely the society? If it be unlawful to verbal scheme of Christianity, it is unite with them in purchasing and tempting Providence to promise circulating the Bible, might it not what a dying creature, like man, be made a question whether it be will do with his money at the end lawful to unite with them in carry- of sixty days, or to engage to sell ing into effect any command of the either a square inch or a thousand Bible; such as feeding the hungry, acres of land at the termination of clothing the naked, or caring for the seven months. Yet these things are sick ? In short, the committee see done, and without express reference no means of determining how far to the uncertainty of all human such a principle might carry them. things. They apprehend it would tend to If we return from affairs of comdivide men interminably; and erect mon life to higher, and to the highinsuperable barriers around each di- est, concerns of man, the verbalist vision and subdivision, which would must also tell where we must then effectually prevent the diffusion of stop. Is every circular of five lines, the Truth, and put a stop to every appointing meetings of committees united work of benevolence. They for religious societies, to include a are inclined, therefore, to think that Deo VOLENTE ? Is a subscriber or the principle of Scripture on this donor to give a cheque to the secrematter is, that Christians should tary upon his banker, interlining the unite with every man in every good engrained blank with “ by the Lord's work, so far as they can without permission ?” And must the recompromising truth or aiding in the ceipt be so worded as on its scite to diffusion of error.”—Trying a similar introduce also the Divine name? principle by its operation upon the There is no end, sir, to such quescivil or inferior departments of life, tions; and I only say, that if the rule I wish to know whether, for ex- of the verbalists is good for any thing, ample, I am to issue, I speak in all they are bound to use it invariably ; seriousness, a promissory note in its and not merely upon paper, but customary form, when we know not orally; so that I must, on their sys
tem, tell my gardener this fine vernal irregular in regard to the higher and morning to sow the annuals, but more important operations of the not without prefacing the direction very principle of which it supposes with the language of religion. I am itself to be in full possession. Those reminded by this very circumstance, of your readers who have at hand the that there are gardeners in my own earlier volumes of your work, I would neighbourhood who gravely prefer earnestly recommend to study the exsowing their flower seeds in Passion pressions of a Self-observer in June, Week! And what does it concur in 1806 (pp. 341-348), as the most proving but the general principle vivid and realizing illustration of attempted to be explained in this my general subject. It was written, address : even the universal dispo- as I well know, by one of the most sition of mankind to be devotional sagacious, consistent, and laboriously in words and manual performances. benevolent Christians of his day, the Were this confined to the supersti- late Mr. Henry Thornton. tious and to the acknowledged pa- made a free use of that species of trons of formality, this paper had pious phraseology which, though it not been written. But I see the usually indicates a devout mind, and world creeping into sacred enclo- is a recommendation in some circles, sures under forms once peculiar to excites prejudice in others; and has itself, and it is high time to sound obtained in the world, and even in the ears of all parties, “ Why call among religious persons of a fastiye me Lord, Lord, and do not the dious kind, the unfavourable name things which I say?" Alas! how many of cant. My aunt had acquired few of the Spanish seaman on board the ideas. She also lived in a narrow SALVADOR DEL MUNDO, and who, in circle; and I am persuaded that her the melancholy depths of their self- too frequent repetition of the same righteous ignorance, felicitated them- pious expressions arose not so much selves on belonging to a ship thus from any peculiarity in her religion, consecrated; how many knew more as from the general poverty of her of the Saviour than they saw in a mind. She was well grounded in crucifix nailed to the mast, or in the the great doctrines of Christianity, rude sculpture fixed below the bow- but she could speak of these only sprit! The mantling smile of some after one manner; and she was acincredulous reader may possibly be customed to consider every deviation repressed by the recollection, that from her own form of words as imthousands and tens of thousands of plying an imperfect knowledge of sailors, in our own enlightened coun- the language of Zion, and a want try, are alarmed at the thought of of that full acquaintance with “ the steering out of port on a Friday; truth' which she herself possessed *." and are equally afraid of putting to Let the reader examine the whole sea in a new ship, before they have of the context, and he will discern hammered a horse-shoe, the crucifix that, at the end of six-and-twenty of the Protestant mariner, to the years, the nominally religious world mast. I have seen this palladium may gather wisdom from a neglected, in that triumph of modern science, but not forgotten, monitor of a a steam-packet. The heresy of ver- preceding generation. I have no bal Christianity, like many other doubt but that your then living and aberrations from its spirit and in- revered correspondent brought
himfluence, may be traced, among other self with much reluctance to use causes, to a forgetfulness of the dis- the word cant. But he well fortitinction between a scrupulous and a
fies his introduction of it; and extender conscience. The former of
* The reader will be aware that the these is, very often, severe in the
Self-observer writes in an assumed chadetails and minor parts of a system ; racter, and not as describing the actual hisand, at the same moment, loose and tory of his connexions.
plains in what manner even Chris- we presume, will assert; certain at least tians of a sensitive and shrinking cha- it is
, that none of those very persons who
have of late employed it in so marked a racter can employ one of the world's
manner in advertisements and other pubever ready and effective weapons. lic announcements, would say that they And here I retire from the field. use this specific phrase every time they The party whom I have ventured to speak, which they must do if they conadvise and caution, are too likely, I the interval between the speech and the
strue the precept literally, even though fear, from the unperceived influence action were but a fraction of a second ; of the very habit I have endeavoured for that fraction is as much in the orderto dissect, to misconstrue my mo- ing of God, and beyond the controul of
man, as a thousand years. In fact, there tives. They may talk of “ the man
could be no such thing as a “ yea, yea, with the paper mask.” Such is cer- or nay, nay,” if this rule were thus vertainly worn on the present occasion; bally construed. “ Will you reach me but a vizor, whether of iron or paste that inkstand? Yes.”. “ Will you read board, may conceal the features of a
me that psalm? Yes." “ Will you walk
with me? No." In such cases to interfriend, even when he adopts the pose this solemn parenthesis would not signature of
only be ill-judged, but impossible. There SCRUTINEER *.
is therefore, of necessity, some limit;
for the text cannot be construed in the * It was not without caution that we literal manner in which the Society of have inserted the foregoing paper, lest Friends take certain other injunctions, its tendency should be misrepresented, without defeating its object by rendering for we cannot think it can be honestly it incapable of application. mistaken. Our Reverend correspondent What then is this limit? Why, eviwas addressing us as above, from the calm dently that we should always mentally retreat of a country village, at the very cherish a feeling of the uncertainty of life moment when we were penning, in the and our dependence upon him in whom notice of Public Affairs in our last are its issues, and also verbally express it, Number, some remarks upon religious where the expression may bring glory to ostentation, which were meant in part to God, or benefit our fellow-creature, or bear upon
this very subject. It may not give proper vent to the overflowings of be amiss if we endeavour briefly to follow humility. Such has ever been the reit up to its source.
ceived exposition of the passage. “ Among In the fourth chapter of the Epistle of Christians,” says Bishop Sanderson, St. James we read the following so- “ who acknowledge God's providence to lemn injunction : Go to, ye that say rule in all things, and to dispose of all To-day, or to-morrow, we will go into actions and events it is needless in every such a city, and continue there a year, speech concerning a future contingency to and buy, and sell, and get gain ; whereas express this clause, if the Lord will,' beye know not what shall be on the morrow. cause we readily conceive it as a clause For what is your life? It is even a va- which either is, or should be, understood pour that appeareth for a little time, and in every such speech, as the Apostle then vanisheth away. For ye ought to requires.” A score of other annotators say, If the Lord will, we shall live and make nearly the same remark; but no do this or that. But now ye rejoice in where is the sentiment more simply and your boastings; all such rejoicing is evil.” satisfactorily expressed tban by the pious The intention of this passage is clearly to Matthew Henry ;“ Ye ought to say it in check a confident and vain-glorious spirit, your hearts at all times, and with your and to inculcate a constant sense of our tongues upon proper occasions." What frailty and dependence upon God. In those occasions are must be a matter of him we live, and move, and have our individual judgment, as they arise ; but being ; our life and death are in his hands, well does Henry add, that " it must not and not a bair of our heads fall to the be said in a flighty, formal, or customary ground without our heavenly Father's no- way.” We shall not allude to those tice. So far there is no difficulty; the instances in which this solemn expression scope of the passage is obvious, nor can is used“ flightily;" but we must remind we enter too intimately and humbly into our readers of the danger of its being its spirit.
employed in a manner « formal and cusBut then comes the question as to the tomary,” as would soon be the case if all particular formula of expression here pre- charity sermons, meetings of societies, scribed, " If the Lord will.” Does our committees, and announcements of secuobedience to the injunction require the lar business, were as a general rule to be literal use of it by word or writing on thus solemnly prefaced.
And besides every occasion; or if not, on what occasions formality and custom, we should dread is it befitting ? That it is necessary to also a mixture of ostentation ; which is be verbally used on every occasion no one, the very sin which St. James is guarding us against in the passage ; “ Ye rejoice customary business, ase this particular in your boustings." Well does Matthew form of words ? Few Christians probably Henry, in commenting upon our Lord's in so serious a matter as a long and toilsome words, “ Do not sound a trumpet before journey, exposed to all the perils which thee," remark: “ Vain-glory is a subtle the Apostle elsewhere so feelingly desin, and insinuates itself into all we do, scribes, would have omitted to add an exere we are aware;” and this being the press acknowledgment of their dependence case, it is just as possible that “ boast- upon the providence of their Heavenly ing” may shew itself in spiritual ostenta- Father ; yet St. Paul himself did not tion as in worldly self-dependence. St. verbally do it; and there are hundreds of James's remark in the last verse above similar passages in Scripture, from which quoted, about “ rejoicing in boasting,” is we may safely infer that a man is not to a key to the whole passage ; his object is be christianized for using, or unchristianto inculcate the contrary feeling to this ized for not using, this or any other parboastful rejoicing, and the parenthetical ticular expression on all occasions. If form of acknowledgment which he intro- St. James's rule were to be applied as duces, is only by way of contrast with some are now applying it, St. Paul himthe spirit of self-dependence which he self would be unchristianized. condemns.
But the second supposed plea was, that Among those who have of late been it might appear ostentatious to preface a conspicuous in introducing or urging this parliamentary motion with this scriptural frequent use of the words “ if the Lord quotation. And may it not appear equally will ” in public announcements, there are, ostentatious in some other cases ? Might or may be, some who are members of the not a society, which published conspilegislature, as was Mr. Thornton above cuously all its announcements on the walls alluded to. Now we would ask, Why do and in the newspapers in a form so pecuyou not in the house of commons preface liarly calculated to excite attention and every motion, every speech, every inten- cause remark, be suspected of wishing to tion of presenting a petition with these appear more spiritual than other societies precise words? The answer would pro- which did not use this scriptural formula? bably be one of these, Because I do not The suspicion might not be just; far from judge it necessary; or, Because it might it; but ihen neither might the suspicion appear ostentatious; or, Because it would be just on the other side, of boasting and seem hypocritical; or, Because it would self-dependence. The first society might only be casting pearls before swine, and not be really ostentatious, and the other causing profane merriment ; or, Because might fear the appearance of ostentation, I am too cowardly to act up to my consci- though composed of persons as spiritually ence and knowledge of what is right. Let minded as their neighbours. us apply these several reasons generally. Again, says our supposed parliamentary
Is it said then, in the first place, that friend, Such a course in “our infidel house this express declaration is not judged in the of commons ” might seem hypocritical. parliamentary case always necessary ; that But why more hypocritical in St. Steis, that the particular circumstances do not phen's chapel than in the Times newsrequire it as a Christian duty ? It is then paper? The writer of these lines saw not admitted that there may be occasions, many hours since a large placard with “ if even important occasions, when the mere the Lord will ” stuck about the walls of form of words is not requisite, provided London, and several copies conspicuously the heart be rightly affected. Why then fastened with skewers in a butcher's shop is a man censured by one of our scrupu- to the backs of sheep and on joints of lous friends for saying “ I intend to be at meat, which greatly attracted the popular Exeter Hall next month,” and not ver- attention. We should be unwilling to bally adding “ if the Lord will." What suppose there was hypocrisy in the matter ; says St. Paul himself ? “Whenever I we have no right to suppose it; but we take my journey into Spain I will come seriously doubt whether the exhibition to you.” Did the Apostle mean this in was really beneficial. “boasting," or was the occasion less im- But it is added that it would be casting portant or less religious than many of pearls before swine. And are there no those which are now by certain persons swine elsewhere than in the house of comconsidered necessary to be distinguished mons? Listen to the remarks of thoughtin advertisements and newspapers, with less or scoffing passengers as they pass the interjected quotation. Nay, further, walls and shop-windows thus placarded. St. Paul writing from Greece, goes on to Are they such as prove that this bitherto describe a perilous journey which he pro- unusual mode of announcement is really posed making to Jerusalem, which when for the use of edifying? Is it not, on the accomplished he speaks of going to Rome, contrary, often a direct breach of our and thence to Spain, and all this with “I Lord's command, “ Give not that which will,” without once adding " if the Lord is holy unto dogs ?” will." But did he the less feel his de- But, perhaps, our parliamentary friend pendence and the frailty of human life? or would say, that the real fact was that he do those feel it the less who do not on was a coward, and that he could offer no every occasion, particularly in matters of other excuse. This admission would at
least be honest : and, as we have written to a far greater degree of faithfulness and on the one side, we will now, in conclusion, explicitness than is customary even among add what occurs to us on the other; which those who are in reality sincere disciples is, that if a few persons have, through a of Christ; but as to the exact mode of mistaken construction of a passage of operation in any given particular, that is Scripture, been led to adopt this phrase- a matter of detail not to be settled by geology in some cases in which, on the
whole, neral rules, and it is not for Christians to it had better have been mental than pub- judge each other in such matters. He lished at the corners of the streets, on that complies with a certain unessential walls, and in newspapers, there are thou- form, if he does it conscientiously, to the sands of persons making high pretensions Lord he does it; he that complies not, to religion who shrink from the offence having a conscience equally tender but of the cross of Christ, and, far from erring under a different view of the bearing of on the side of a scrupulous conscience, the scriptural requirement, to the Lord are afraid of writing or uttering any word he does it not; and why, then, is his liby which men may take knowledge that berty judged of another man? The Christhey have been with Jesus. There are tian never purposes any thing, or plans even clergymen whose whole life is thus any thing, but with the habitual feeling spent in striving to keep fair with all that his life is a vapour, that all human parties; and who practise "every ignomi- affairs, so far as man's apprehension is nious expedient to prevent its being concerned, are uncertain and contingent; thought that they symbolize too closely and as this is always in his heart it will with those whom the world chooses to be often on his lip, and might, perhaps,
We are speaking not of such as be more often so if his spirit were duly are ignorant of the character of true reli- vigilant; but God looks to the inward gion, but of those who know it abundantly man, and not to mere forms of words, so well, and can preach on it very fluently; that it would be a most unjust and unbut who shun as the leprosy whatever charitable inference to judge of the degree would too closely identify them with the of faith and prayer that accompanied any faithful followers of Christ. Oh, if these action by so uncertain a test as the phraseomen only knew how contemptible they logy in which it was announced. We have appear in the eyes of the very persons thought these remarks necessary, both they seek to conciliate, how greatly would lest the tenor of our correspondent's com. their self-love be wounded. They will munication should be misunderstood, and make a clap-trap speech at a Bible-So- also to guard religious persons from being ciety meeting where all is sunshine, but seduced against their deliberate judgment will spring across the room at a visitation into ill-judged peculiarities, and to induce dinner to avoid the salutation of a friend them to strive to possess a scripturally or neighbour who might be so indecorous enlightened and truly tender, and not a as to remind them of their religious ad- merely scrupulous, conscience. yenture. Unlike the Psalmist who would not know a wicked person, these borderers will not know a righteous one, if an unrighteous one who is higher in rank, or whom they wish to court, be present. All this is as common as it is miserably mean and despicable, to say nothing of its not be a strict, honest, and manly bearing When I read R. A.'s letter in your being utterly unchristian. Why may there Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer. in these matters ; neither cloking our religion nor desecrating it; boldly taking last Number, I took up my pen to up our cross, God being our helper, and reply to the extraordinary statement, following Christ; but attaching no value that not merely the mind and imato a few shibboleths, as if religion were a mere matter of phrases; and that even gination deserve culture, but that it pride, self-seeking, backbiting, and false- may be lawfully sought at the exhood, were no crimes if they pretend to be committed under the disguise of pe- consideration I restrain myself, first,
pense of the morals ; but upon reculiar zeal and spirituality.
The issue of the whole is this, that because I cannot believe that R. A. whether we eat or drink, or whatever we really meant any thing so excepdo, we are to do all to the glory of God. tionable ; and secondly, because side The precise way in which this paramount by side with his paper is my own and all-pervading object is to be effected must be left to the judgment of a tender
the Westminster Latin-Play, conscience and a scripturally enlightened which is a practical answer to his understanding, under the ever-implored argument, that no evil arises from guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This ha- the careless introduction of heathen bitual self-renunciation, with a constant willingness to bear the offence of the writers into our schools and families. Gospel, would probably lead the Christian
ON THE STUDY OF HEATHEN