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the clergy so use it, they may let the nature, I am apt to think few men, clerk repeat it or not, as suits their if any, can hope to perform.” own taste; for, being an innovation, The passage is found at the conthere is no rule but analogy to direct clusion of Mr. Hume's Treatise on them. So, at least, it appears to Human Nature. See Life and Writme; but I shall be happy to be better ings of Henry Home, vol. i. p. 97, instructed by any of your liturgical Methinks I am like a man who, readers. Such points may, indeed, having struck on many shoals and appear trivial; and trivial they are, narrowly escaped shipwreck in passcompared with prayer itself, and the ing a small frith, has yet the temeweightier matters of God's law; but rity to put out to sea in the same we preserve the casket for the sake leaky, weather-beaten vessel, and of the jewel, and nothing that con- even carries his ambition so far as to duces to due order in public worship think of compassing the globe under is unimportant in its consequences. these disadvantageous circumstances. A LOVER OF THE OLD ways. My memory of past errors makes me
diffident of future; the wretched condition, weakness, and disorder of
the faculties I must employ in the MENTAL ANXIETY OF HUME THE His. inquiry, increase my apprehensions ; TORIAN.
the impossibility of correcting or
amending these faculties reduces me To the Editor of the Christian Observer. almost to despair, and makes me reWhat authority there may be for solve to perish on the barren rock the story related by O. B. (in your upon which I am at present, rather Number of Nov. 1831, p. 683) is than venture upon that boundless not easy to say at this distance of ocean which runs out into immensity, time; but the following letter contains This sudden view of my dạnger strikes a strong corroboration of the fact that me with melancholy, and I cannot Mr. Hume's death-bed could not forbear feeding my despair with all have been a tranquil one; and if those desponding reflections which truth at those awful periods could the present subject furnishes me with always be drawn forth, I doubt not in such abundance. Iam first affrightit would appear that the last hours ed and confounded with that forlorn of infidels, where they are sensible of solitude in which I am placed in my their approaching end, are always philosophy, and fancy myself some more or less terrific.
uncouth strange monster, who, not The following passage, being from being able to mingle and unite in Mr. Hume's own pen, carries with it society, has been expelled all human melancholy proof of the fruits and commerce, and left utterly abandoned folly of sceptical infidelity. It contains and disconsolate. Fain would I run the strongest antidote against that into the crowd for shelter and warmth, particular poison which is derived but cannot prevail with myself to mix from metaphysical subtleties applied with such deformity. I call upon to the doctrines of revealed truth; others to join me, in order to make and shews that he who launches out a company apart, but no one will upon the ocean of metaphysics on hearken to me: every one shuns such a subject, while he quits the me, and keeps at a distance from safe shores of probable evidence, will that storm which beats upon me on soon be lost in the unfathomable every side : I have exposed myself to waves of his new element. We may the enmity of all metaphysicians, losay of Mr. Hume upon this subject, gicians, mathematicians, and even what Lord Littleton says of Mr. theologians; and can I wonder at Lockem" What Mr. Locke" (and the insults I must suffer?, I have Mr. Hume) “ could not do in reason- declared my disapprobation of their ing upon subjects of a metaphysical systems, and can I be surprised if
they should express their dislike of
ASTRONOMICAL AND METEOROLOGICAL mine, and even their hatred of my person? When I look abroad, I see on every side dispute, contradiction, To the Editor of the Christian Observer. anger, calumny, and detraction: when In looking over in your Number for I turn my eye inward, I find nothing Dec. p. 748) the strange farrago of but doubt and ignorance. All the meteorological facts collected by the world conspires to oppose and contra- writers of the Morning Watch as proofs dict me, though such is my weakness of the speedy advent of Christ and I feel all my opinions loosen and fall forthcoming judgment, I was reof themselves, when unsupported by minded of the following
passage in the approbation of others: every step an old tract, entitled, “ The second I take is with hesitation, and every Coming of Christ, a comfortable Disnew reflection makes me dread an course, printed in London in the error and absurdity in my reasoning; year 1589,” and dedicated to the for with what confidence can I ven- then Archbishop of Canterbury and ture on such bold enterprizes, when, the Bishop of London. I extract the besides those numberless infirmities passage in order to shew-if, indeed, peculiar to myself, I find so many proof were necessary—the futility of which are common to human nature? adducing such vague astrological and The intense view of manifold contra- meteorological phænomena to bear dictions and infirmities in human upon matters of sacred prophecy. reason has so worked upon my brain To make of those tokens foretold that I am ready to reject all belief of Christ any long discourse, it were and reasoning, and can look upon a great labour, and peradventure no opinion even as more probable tedious to the reader, because the or likely than another. Where am thing itself and experience do suffi1, or what? from what causes do ciently prove the signs, after the I derive my existence, and to what manifesting of the Gospel, to have condition shall I return? whose favour been fulfilled; except only those in shall I court, and whose anger shall the sun and moon and other stars I dread? what beings surround me, as yet have not appeared, which and on whom have I any influence, Christ doth foretel should either or who have any influence on me? I shew themselves a little before, or in am confounded by all these questions, his very coming. The mathematiand begin to fancy myself in the most cians' and astronomers' judgment, deplorable condition imaginable, en notwithstanding, is, that in many vironed with the deepest darkness, hundred years past were never seen and utterly deprived of the use of so many eclipses of the sun and every member and faculty."
moon, nor yet so strange conjunctions And is this the fruit of those phi- of planets, as will appear within few losophical inquiries, this the only end years; which no doubt are to threaten to which the most penetrating in- unto us dangerous and miserable tellect could employ its powers; this days, as hereafter shall be shewed. the result of his laborious specula- Here I will not speak of the proditions? It is, by the philosopher's gious comets and meteors which own confession. Surely it is not many times have been marked in this improbable that the death-bed of the our age: neither will I call to mind man who wrote thus was as wretched the judgment of astronomers and as is described in the statement in chiefest divines, upon that star which your Number for last November, what- within these three years (anno 1572 ever affectation of tranquillity he may and 1573) shewed herself certain have assumed to disguise his real months together, as the very mesfeelings, and however his pretended senger and warner of God's coming calm may have deceived his bio- to judgment; and the rather, because grapher.
it seemed to be of the same nature and
quality with that which foretold the from the best motives, have expressed birth of Christ the King of the Jews themselves in former ages; and should unto the wise men. Also I will in not these things be a warning to silence pass over the strange earth- us in the present day, that we may quakes which in our days have hap- not make history an old almanack, pened in many places, as of late at but derive from it the instruction Ferrara in Italy and in Friseland, which the study of it ought to convey? the nature of which soil is least Let us, seeing past errors, and the subject to the same. But I beseech fallacious results of former confident you let us call to our remembrance speculations, learn a lesson of Chrisall those evils which as yet we do, tian wisdom and modesty, and beas it were, behold, and have tasted, ware of perverting the word of God not heard of; do see with our eyes, by curious fancies.
C. E. G. and to our great grief suffer them continually. What a grievous pestilence and plague these many years, both with us and in other places, ON THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF hath reigned and tyrannically doth exult over all persons and bring very
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. many to their graves, and (according to the judgment of the learned, which It has of late been frequently stated, are in opinion that it will and must that all Scripture is of literal intercontinue yet more years) will dis- pretation, and that those who “ spipatch many more? What a long ritualize” any portion of it are guilty dearth of corn, and great scarcity of of dishonesty in expounding the word all things? What thefts and robberies of God. Hence, whatever is said on all sides, both on sea and land ? about the Jews, and Messiah's kingWhat an infinite company have in dom, and the Millennium, is to be cruel fight been miserably slain and construed without any figure; earth murdered in France, Flanders, and is earth; gold, gold; and precious Friseland ? But I am troubled, and stones, precious stones. that greatly, to think upon and re- precisely the argument of the Papists cite the calamities which Friseland with the Reformers about the Lord's by strange and unaccustomed over- Supper. You are dishonest, said flowing of waters hath felt: especially they, in saying body does not mean by the two latter, whereof the one hap- body; and blood, blood; this is fraupened in the year ofour Lord 1574, the dulent spiritualising; you ought to 4th of November....the other chanced take the words of Christ as you find in a more dangerous and worse time, them. The Reformers replied, Are three days before the feast of St. we then, when Christ says I am the Bartholomew, in the year of our Sa- Vine, I am the good Shepherd, I am viour's incarnation 1573, the which the door, to say that he spoke literbrought more hurt to many men than ally and not metaphorically; and if not the former....so that in these countries in these cases, why in the matter of it might well be said that those words the Eucharist? the common sense of Christ were fulfilled, saying, “the of the passage determines the point; people shall be at their wit's end at the and to construe it literally is to turn roaring of the sea, and salt waters.' it to nonsense. Wherefore, let us give credit unto And thus would I say to our new these words of Christ, and let them school of literalists. Whether a pasbe unto us for most certain tokens of sage is literal or emblematical, is a the sudden coming of our Saviour to question of detail; and for one Chrisjudgment.”
tian to charge upon another dishonesty Such was the confidence with because he thinks that to be figurawhich certain students of prophecy, tive which his neighbour construes doubtless with great sincerity and verbally, is surely, to say the least,
a somewhat uncharitable method of ingenuous to say that it was likely settling theological controversies. that any candid man, whatever might The Papists would consider be his sentiments on some of the friends dishonest because they do questions which divide the church, not believe transubstantiation, which could feel satisfied with a compilais quite as plainly laid down as some tion written in such a spirit of party, things which profess to be gathered that amidst a hundred and fifty aufrom the literal interpretation of thors quoted, and some of them prophecy.
writers of little note, there is a sysere is a plain common-sense
tematic exclusion, a contemptuous medium in these matters. The Pa- silence, in regard to some of the most pisterrs in reading what is said of the illustrious names in biblical annotasacramental body and blood of Christ tion. Calvin, for instance, whom literally; the Quaker errs in making Hooker and other worthies of our the sacrament itself spiritual. There church delighted to honour, and is no need for the latter ; the sense whose commentary,apart from all matof the sacred text does not require ters of system or disputation, would it. But we do not say that the con- have furnished the compilers with scientious Quaker is dishonest, even invaluable materials for their work, though he is mistaken ; he believes is not even admitted in their list that he is right, and this judgment of authors cited; nay, the only two of charity might surely be exercised complete commentaries in the Entowards those who differ from certain glish language on the whole of Scrip. new views of an earthly paradise.
ture, the inestimable and justly poA. B. C. pular works of Scott and Henry-in
which, much as the compilers of the
Family Bible might dislike their noTHE CHRISTIAN-KNOWLEDGE FAMILY tions of doctrine or piety, they would
have discovered most interesting and To the Editor of the Christian Observer. have been scornfully passed by and
edifying remarks and commentsIn reading the notice of Mr. Raikes's stifled, while many tiny scintillations work in your last Number, I could of names, never heard of out of their have wished that either that author own favoured school, are protruded, or his reviewer, in alluding to the to keep out of sight writers whose Christian-Knowledge Family Bible, very voluminousness renders it imhad added a line to second what you possible that they could have wholly have already urged; namely, an addi- escaped observation, even in the vast tion of devotional reflections; without collections of Lambeth or the Bodwhich, even if every portion of the leian. I however view this only as a theology of the work were faultless, monument of the temper of days that it would be essentially defective as are gone by; for I cannot, I do not a Family Bible. You have stated that believe that, were such a compilation Bishop Hobart, to whose judgment to be undertaken anew, the Society the editors of the Family Bible may would allow this spirit of party to defer, so much lamented this great disgrace the pages of a Family Bible, defect that he endeavoured to supply andawork, notwithstanding its faults, it in the American edition. I men- of great value to every biblical stution this as suggesting an improve- dent.
AN OLD MEMBER*. ment which the greatest admirers of the Family Bible would be grateful
I was glad to read what Mr. Raikes for, but without pledging myself says of expositions and cottage lectures. that even such an addition would You have already alluded to his remarks, render the work all that I desiderate; but permit me to revive them in the minds for, without alluding to former mat
of your readers by quoting one or two
passages. iters of controversy, it would be dis- “ But the pulpit, however great the
exhortation on this occasion, and FORMS OF PRAYER AGAINST the form of fasting, were taken from PESTILENCE.
the service of 1604, (as quoted in
our last Number,) as were also the For the Christian Observer.
general structure of the service, and The last office which we noticed most of the prayers ; but several (see our Number for January) was long collects were added, which are that of 1604; the next that occurs is not in our copy of the form of 1604, that for 1625, when the plague again and which we therefore suppose were visited our island and caused grievous now first composed for the occasion, consternation and mortality. The possibly by the Archbishop himself,
Abbot, than whom few prelates were value of the ministrations belonging to it, better qualified for such an office. includes merely a part of the clergyman's We shall quote some of these ; and duties. There are other employments of a kindred nature, hardly inferior to it they would be curious and interin value, and essential to its usefulness. esting were it only as illustrations of Among these, we must name exposition, our ecclesiastical history, which have or facility of expounding Scripture, and accompanying the explanation of the sense
hitherto been neglected and are not by application to the cases of men. In generally accessible. If any of our many places, this has been found a very readers prefer modern writing to old valuable substitute for the pulpit ministrations of part of the day; and has sup- faithful pastor will endeavour to relieve plied a more general and connected view these disabilities, must of necessity, if his of Scripture truth, than was easily given charge is extensive, be rare, and in consethrough the medium of sermons. În all quence unsatisfactory; and it is expeplaces it should be regarded as an essen- dient, therefore, to collect, at stated places, tial accomplishment to a clergyman; and and at certain times, all those scattered whether practised in church under the individuals who cannot be expected to name of an expository lecture ; in the attend at church. In most hamlets some parish workhouse, as an address to those cottage can be selected, which shall offer who from age and weakness cannot attend space for the few who may be assembled church; in the parlour or the cottage ; it together; and the persons who cannot by should be regarded as a special means, any possible exertion reach the parish under God's blessing, of diffusing a gene- church, may be instructed to meet their ral and an experimental knowledge of minister, at the house he may choose to Divine truth. The difficulties which may appoint, during the week. To this point. be felt, or the evils which may be feared therefore, may come the mothers who are in the case of extempore preaching, have unable to leave their children ; the old, no existence here. The circumstance the invalid, and the weak. A portion of that it is Scripture which is before the Scripture may be read to them, and exeye, prevents the rambling, incoherent plained in a familiar manner; a few praylanguage which sometimes prevails in an ers, selected from the Liturgy, may be unpremeditated address. The succession used; and by this simple means, the bond of doctrines obviates the danger of mono- of parochial communion may be preserved, tony; and those who have the least of and a knowledge of Divine truth be kept natural fluency, may soon gain sufficient alive in minds, that might otherwise have facility to explain with clearness, what been languishing in solitude and ignothey have well understood and previously rance. It is a plan which has now been digested.” pp. 239, 240.
tried in various situations, and with the “ Cottage lectures form another, and most satisfactory results; nor is it easy an important branch of parochial useful- to imagine, how the superintendence of a ness. In many of our larger parishes, a large parish can be carried on in any other considerable number of people are almost
It is in small assemblies like precluded from the opportunity of attend these, where the instruction given assumes ing the regular services of the church. something of the domestic character, that Distance of home, badness of roads, bo- catechising of this indirect sort may be dily infirmity, or the care of children, attempted with the greatest ease. Young offer impediments which no zeal can persons, above the age of those who atovercome, even where the church accom
tend schools, may be frequently collected modation is abundant; and from these here; to whom, and through whom, those causes, many mothers of families, and questions may be addressed, which are many other persons from the circum- intended to enlighten and inform the old. stances alluded to, are cut off from all The simplicity of their answers may, in participation in these means of grace. some cases, be more instructive than the The occasional visits with which the language of the minister.” pp. 248-25).