صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

I will only further advert to two points connected with the administration of the Lord's supper, as directed by our church.

One is, the omission of the greater part of the notice of a communion, which, however frequent, is wholly unauthorised and irregular.

The other relates to the practice becoming more and more necessary, of delivering the bread and wine to more than one communicant at each repetition of the blessing. The precedent afforded by many of our bishops, in the rite of confirmation, is strictly applicable; they being under an obligation, equally with the inferior clergy, to conform literally and exactly to all the directions in our prayer-book. But, in fact, the language of the rubric is not so rigorous upon this subject as is generally supposed. It only commands the minister, when he delivers the bread or the cup to any one, to use the form which there follows, but does not say that he must repeat it severally to each. The direction would therefore be sufficiently complied with, if, immediately on delivering the sacred symbols to as many persons as the circumstances of the congregation may seem to require, the minister should read the appointed words exactly as they are

written. They should be read in the singular number, that each individual may apply them to himself; and, in proportion to his faith, receive the whole comfort of them; which is the precise course observed by the high priest in the Jewish service, who is directed to address the whole congregation in the singular number, with probably the same intention. (Num. vi. 23-26.) Where the congregation is small, the usual practice would naturally, as it should in propriety, be retained; but in large communions, where constant re petition would be too protracted, monotonous, and unedifying, it would seem desirable to leave the minor arrangements to private discretion, only adhering to the strict letter of the rule, and to the exact language of the prescribed form.

As uniformity of practice is desirable, where the rule is uniform, I trust you will not think the time of your readers ill employed in attending to the foregoing remarks, which I will close with a prayer, that all who habitually employ these hallowed formularies may also, in the language of our invaluable Liturgy, hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." D. D.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"No one who has witnessed the mental imbecility so often apparent in the aged African, or the tardy development of his faculties to the reception of Divine truth, would be bold enough to recommend, as practicable, his instruction by means of letters. Exceptions, it is true, will be sometimes found to this rule, but they are rarely to be met with." When Mr. Trew penned the above passage, he had, I doubt not, in recollection sufficient proof of all which he has stated; and with which, I will venture to assert, every pious missionary in the West Indies will fully concur.

For I would ask, is there no difference between instructing men advanced to upwards of fifty years, and those just advanced to manhood? Can they who have been "accustomed to do evil," for fifty or more years, "learn to do well" with the same facility, as they who have not advanced to half that age in iniquity? Of the number of those who are brought to the knowledge of the truth in England, how many are brought to that saving knowledge when they have passed the age of fifty? And if the number be small in this highly favoured land, can we expect, in ordinary circumstances, more success or even as much among the aged Africans?

Not that the tardy development of their faculties to the reception of Divine truth, should cause the minister of Jesus Christ to remit his diligence. He ought, as you suggest, to hope even against hope; and no one acquainted with the respected author of the " Appeal"-his unabating zeal-his patient and unwearied labours, to instruct and to convert the aged African, as well as others, will suppose that he despairs of making a saving impression upon his dull understanding, and of fixing his earthly affections upon God and Christ and heaven.

But the main point of the passage in question, turns upon the instruction of the aged African by means of letters; or, in other words, teach

ing him to read. This, Mr. Trew thinks, in the majority of cases, is impracticable; though he admits, that "exceptions will be sometimes found to this rule." And surely if we reflect seriously upon this statement, we must admit its correctness. I have been highly delighted by the account given by Mr. Ellis respecting the proficiency, which many of the aged Sandwich Islanders had made in reading and writing; but I must ever look upon the mighty events which have transpired there, and among the other islands of the South Sea, as extraordinary: and we must remember that those old men, if you will allow me the phrase, had wind and tide in their favour; whereas, it is not so as yet with the aged Africans.

The authorities which you have cited, therefore, against the passage in the Appeal, from Mr. Bickersteth down to Sir George Collier, carry no conviction to my mind. In fact, they do not bear upon the main point at issue. They shew, indeed, what I am sorry to observe, is not fully admitted by all men; namely, that Africans possessing the same advantages as Europeans, are as capable as they of being Christianised and civilised; and this the author of the Appeal would be the last man to question.

Referring again to the Review (p. 682), I find this passage: "Even Mr. Trew does not venture to hint a hope, that the money will be applied in any such way as we should consider to be education in this country."

This leads me to ask, What is considered to be education in this country? Is teaching boys and girls to read the Bible on the Lord's day? If so, then Mr. Trew has more than hinted, that this kind of edu cation will be given in his Sunday school. (see pp. 12, 15.) And if in your estimation he has not been sufficiently explicit on this head, it was doubtless wholly unintentional. By the last advices, there were 447 children (slaves) learning to read in

the schools established in Mr. Trew's parish, besides about 1700 slaves of various ages receiving oral instruction in the main truths of Christianity, at the times allowed for that purpose on the estates during the week.

That there are still impediments in the way of Negro education, there can be no doubt: the most important of which is the prostitution of the Lord's day. But let all who wish well to the Negroes, encourage one another in supporting those efforts which are practicable, and pray, and hope, and labour, to bring in a better state of things. And thus, whatever be our opinions as to the details of Mr. Trew's plan, or of the sentiments conveyed in his Appeal, we may join in his concluding sentence, and never cease our endeavours until, through every corner of the land, and throughout the colonies, "the religious instruction of the Negro Slaves be made to appear to every Christian a duty of the most solemn obligation."-I am, sir, yours, &c.

JAMAICENSIS.

We are by no means disposed to diminish the effect of our correspondent's apologetical explanation of the passage in Mr. Trew's pamphlet, which called forth the remarks in our Review to which he objects. There can be no doubt that the evil habits of adults may be more inveterate than those of children: but we suspect, that, with respect to the incapacity of the adult slaves of Jamaica to acquire a knowledge of letters, it is a point which is referable far more to their want of time, than to their want of aptitude for instruction. If, even on the Golden Grove estate, the children are so occupied as to leave no time for any thing beyond oral instruction on a Sunday, what chance is there that the adults should be allowed leisure for such a purpose as that of learning to read? We believe that, if the Jamaica islanders had the same command of their

time with the Sandwich islanders, we should see renewed in the former the same effects which our correspondent regards as almost miraculous in the latter. We are happy to find, that even 447 children of slaves, in a population of nearly 26,000, are learning to read; and we shall rejoice still more, if the prevailing prejudices on this subject should interpose no obstacle to Mr. Trew's benevolent efforts in the parish of St. Thomas in the East, and should not prevent the influence of his praiseworthy example, from extending to all the other parishes of the island. We have already expressed our high sense of the value of his zealous and conscientious labours.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

ALLOW me to call the attention of your readers for a moment, to the inconveniences likely to arise from the numerous emendations, which are continually made to the orthography of our proper names. This fashion was set by those learned men who first found out that Mahomet was an incorrect way of spelling the name of the false prophet of Mecca: the consequence of which discovery is, that his name and religion have perplexed all our pretenders to good spelling ever since. But now, all our missionaries are turned new-modellers of names, and we can no longer recognise our old acquaintances, the Cingalese, or our friends in Otaheite and Owhyhee, under the disguise, which they wear; as Singhalese, Boodhists, and natives of Tahiti and Hawaii. It appears to me, however, that this improvement, if it be one, has not yet gone far enough, but that we ought, in consistency, to reform all the names in the Old Testament, to recast the appellations of the oriental sovereigns, whom we have hitherto been blindly contented to call Artaxerxes and Darius; and to change the Latin names of Ulysses,

Achilles, Ajax, and others for the Greek ones from which they are borrowed. I confess, that it appears to me hardly worth while to take so much pains for so trifling an object. The thing most to be desired in a proper name is, not so much that it be accurately deduced, as that it be fixed and uniform; and that (I think) would best be secured by adhering to the inventions of our first discoverers and navigators. Let them have the honour of fixing the names which they introduce; for even a certain error is preferable to uncertain correction.

D. D.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

I AM desirous of learning the opinion of your readers upon the following point of ecclesiastical law. The town of Liverpool is one parish; and, in consequence of its increasing population, from time to time new churches have been built. The acts of parliament authorising such buildings were, thirty years ago, very loosely drawn up, and many inconveniences and defects are already felt in the older chapels, from the want of reasonable and necessary powers. This is particularly the case with St. Ann's. The roof is in want of repairs, and there are no funds except voluntary contributions from the pew owners; and, what has increased the difficulty, the bishop has ordered sundry internal decorations, which will equal the expense of repairing the roof. In consequence of a noncompliance with the verbal communications of the bishop, a fiat has been issued from the Ecclesiastical Court; and the church is in consequence closed, to the great discomfort of many families.

Without impugning the conduct of his lordship, whose diligence and zeal excite our warmest acknowledgments, it is still thought that a bishop has no power to intermingle an order for necessary repairs with CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 301.

ornamental painting: and, as there seems no chance of repairing what is required from any other source than the pew owners (the freehold and presentation are vested in the corporation, who refuse assistance), it has been thought, that it ought to be reduced as low as possible, especially as the pew owners are not generally occupants, and many of them are also poor. As many other churches in different parts of the kingdom may be similarly circumstanced, it may be useful to many other of your readers, lay and clerical, as well as to the writer of these lines, if some of your correspondents, learned in such matters, will afford an answer to the following query:

Has a bishop power to order any repairs, except those necessary to prevent dilapidation?

RICHARD HOOKER.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

"It is a much easier thing to find fault with a sermon, than to write a better," said an old father of a family to his children, who were descanting upon the afternoon homily which they had just heard in their parish church. "It is an easy thing to criticize the style, the voice, and the manner of the preacher; but, in my opinion, the sermon was solid, though very plain; and well suited, as I think, to the generality of our village flock. I heartily wish that either of you, my sons, should you go to the university, and afterwards proceed to take Holy Orders, may preach the same great truths which we have heard to-day; and, if called to minister before congregations possessed of higher intellect, may not forget, in the polish of your style, the weighty matters of the Gospel."

When this little dialogue took place, I was a visitor, for a few days, at my friend's country-house, and could not but be struck very forcibly E

with the soundness of his remarks.

The Sunday evening was subsequently passed (as all Sunday evenings should be) in pursuits of a religious nature, including useful and interesting conversation. Some of the party read books of a Scriptural tendency. If any thing striking occurred, we ventured for a few moments to break the thread of our next neighbour's subject, by a question upon our own point of divinity. Having been to the house of God as friends, we continued to take sweet counsel together; and at length, after closing the day with prayer, we betook ourselves to repose.

When left to myself, I reviewed, as is my general custom, the circumstances of the past day; and could not but reflect upon the nice line of distinction which separates fair, candid, criticism, from that rash judgment of others which too often disgraces the Christian character. My old friend was right, said I to myself, in checking the hasty outpouring of opinion in these young persons; and yet it is profitable to make observations upon what we hear and read, provided those observations be made with humility and in an affectionate spirit. How can we improve our own style, or remedy our own defects, if we do not critically examine the writings of our contemporaries, and pass a fair judgment upon the doctrinal and practical matter of our modern preachers? For my own part, had I children, I should certainly encourage a careful perusal of the best divines; and I should especially urge every young man intended for the ministry, not to rest satisfied until he has diligently studied every thing which can tend to the formation of a good style of composition. His sermons will then be more likely to be delivered in an impressive manner, and with a weight of proper authority, suited to a preacher of the Gospel of Christ. The next morning, at breakfast, I resolved to revive the subject of our previous conversation.

"What was it," said I to my young friends, "which led you to think the sermon of yesterday so uninteresting? The vicar is a good man: he takes pains to instruct the poor, and to educate their children: tell me, if you can, without reserve (for there can be no prejudice in your minds, and, if there be, it is in favour of the preacher), why the sermon failed to edify you?" The answer given was to the following effect :"We have, sir, as you well know, the highest possible respect for our minister, and can have no doubt of his wish to benefit his hearers. But there is a sort of common-place poverty in his preaching--a dearth of Scripture fact, and of Scripture authority-a want of materiel,' which creates a feeling in our minds that, though he believes every word he says himself, he does not know how to persuade other men to believe.

He that winneth souls is wise.' Now there is, in some preachers whom we have heard, an affectionate regard,—an earnest power of persuasion,-a deep solemnity of reproof, which prove that the subject of each sermon has been well considered, carefully digested, and earnestly prayed over in private, before it is presented to the hearer. Our vicar appears to offer to God that which has cost him nothing." In short, my young friends seemed to consider that the best polished weapons are generally the sharpest ;— that even the plainest truths may be presented in an attractive, as well as an unattractive, form;-that, in preaching the Gospel, there are, so to speak, conductors and non-conductors;-that the shepherd leads his sheep into green pastures; they know his voice; he goeth before them, and they follow him;—and, in a word, that a cold delivery of common-place matter does not seem to touch the heart. Upon these sentiments of my young friends, I would make a few practical observations.

St. Paul himself said to the Colossians, "Whatsoever thine hand

« السابقةمتابعة »