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[The following communication has been for- dren of God, and inheritors of the kingwarded for insertion in this publication.]
dom of heaven.'' “ Some benefits we For the Christian Journal.
easily perceive. By baptism, children Bishop Griswold's Pastoral Letter.
become our brethren in Christ-men
bers of his body the Church : they are We have lately seen a Pastoral Letter united with him as branches are with a by the Bishop of the Eastern Diocess, vine. They partake in the communion and its perusal has produced the min. of saints. They are sacramentally made gled emotions of pleasure and regret. Sons of God by adoption.”_" BapT'he vigilance in the discharge of his tized children are entitled to all the priduties which it manifests; the anxiety vileges of God's elect; they are in a to promote the spiritual prosperity of visible state of salvation, and have a his people which it evinces; the sober, right to all the means of grace. They but affectionate piety that it breathes, are included in God's covenant, and his must yield delight to every member of seal is upon them: they have, with the Protestant Episcopal Church. Still other members of the Church, a comthe inconsistency and confusion of ideas mon interest in all its blessings.” Now upon the subject of baptism mar this although this definition is too diffuse to delight and excite regret.
give a clear and precise view of the subThe Letter is addressed more espe. ject, still there are some general exprescially to sponsors. And the origin, the sions that might be construed to imply usefulness, and the obligations of spon- all the high privileges of the Christian sors are well marked out, and their du- covenant; and yet nothing is explicitly ties solemnly inculcated.
said about the Holy Spirit. And this The propriety of infant baptism is would seem rather extraordinary, as at clearly evinced, as well by other argu- baptism, we are received in the name ments, as by the incontrovertible posi- of the Father, and of the Son, and of tion, that it is the initiatory sacrament the Holy Ghost. If we are made chil. of the Christian covenant, as circumci- dren of God, and receive pardon of sin sion was of the Abrahamic. Circumci- through the blood of Christ, we are as sion he designates 6 as a sacramental surely invested with the gift of the rite, a seal of covenanted blessings, Holy Ghost. And this was certainly temporal and spiritual," p. 12. “ They the construction put upon the sacrawho were circumcised in childhood, ment by St. Peter. Repent, said he to were the same as adults, debtors to the the converts on the day of Pentecost, whole law, and entitled to all the privi- and be baptized every one of you in leges of the chosen race: the Lord was the name of Jesus Christ, for the retheir God, and they his people, and they mission of sins, and ye shall receive were bound as such to obey him. They the gift of the Holy Ghost. became members of the Church of Nevertheless, while the Bishop mainGod.” Now we admit this to be a clear tained that “ the spiritual advantages and satisfactory account of circumci- of the circumcised child under the law, sion. It possessed every character of are the blessed privilege of baptized a sacrament. There was an outward children, and in a higher degree,” we and visible sign of an inward and spiri- could not have charged him with any tual grace: and the inward and spi- error on the subject. Still we feel asto. ritual grace was their temporal and nished that while he explicitly declares spiritual blessings included in their that “ baptism is the same evidence to membership in the Church of God. children that it is to adults, that their
“ Baptism," he says, “ is our sacra- sin is remitted,” he did not add, and mental birth into God's spiritual king- that they received the lloly Ghost. For dom,”.p. 19. And he tariher states,- on this, and on this only, could be found“ It is not for us to assign limits to God's ed a hope that children could be mercy-to prescribe bounds to the ope- brought up in the nurture and admonirations of his grace-to determine what tion of the Lord. Surely to expect to only, and in full, are the benefits to chil- accomplish this without the Divine asdren in being members of Christ, chil-sistance of God's Holy Spirit, would be in vain, while we believe in the depra- sign in the Abrahamic sacrament was vity of human nature.
circumcision. In baptism it is water, But although we perceive, that the and in the Lord's Supper bread and good Bishop has neither been very pre- wine. " The former your children recise nor very explicit with regard to ceive by the washing of of regeneration the grace given at baptism, we should by the regular administration of baphave perused his letter with considera- tism”-that is, your children receive ble pleasure, had it not been for the fol- their entrance into the pale of God's lowing passage: "Except any one is visible kingdom here on earth. This born of water and of the Spirit, he can- we readily admit, but we deny that it not enter into the kngdom of God. is an outward sign. “ The latter is the The bifth of water is their entrance gift of God, and so far as it is connecte into the visible pale of God's kingdom ed with means," &c. That the inward here on earth. The birth of the Spi- grace of baptism is the gift of God, rit is their sanctification the renew- whatever it be, is not denied. But still ing of the Holy Ghost, by which they it belongs to baptism, because God has are vitally united with the Saviour, and so ordained.' Yet the Bishop makes it become spiritually and truly the chil to depend upon the faith and prayers of dren of God. The one is the outward the people, and the education of the and visible sign, the other is the in children: Now it was readily admite ward and spiritual grace given unto us. ted that baptism was complete without The former your children receive by prayers, and in that case, there would the washing of regeneration; by the be no inward grace given, or it would regular administration of baptism. The be totally unconnected with means, latter is the gift of God only; and so Moreover, to say that the birth of the far as it is connected with means, and Spirit was to be obtained by the eduthe fidelity of his people is obtained by cation of children, a thing which must their faith and prayers in administering require considerable time, would be ena the sacrament, and loy watching over tirely inconsistent with the nature of the souls of baptized children, and eare- the figure used. The veperable Bishop fully instructing them in all the doc- then has enveloped this subject in cone trines of the Gospel, and the duties of fusion. Christian life," p. 53. In the first place, 'The language and the figures of it seems to be intimated here, that there Scripture are plain and apposite. The are two births, one of water, and anan term regeneration, or new birth, is used ther of the Spirit. This then, to say in one case to designate our entrance the least of it, destroys the meaning of into the kingdom of grace; in another, our Lord's declaration. It is said, our entrance into the kingdom of glory & that the birth of water is their en- after the resurrection of the dead. The trance into the visible pale of God's one state is preparatory to the other, kingdom here on earth.”' God's visi And all the benefits, and all the privible kingdom is the Christian Church, leges of the former are to be applied to and to be made a member of it, implies prepare us for the latter. to be invested with all the privileges of The primitive fathers and the Eng. the Christian covenant; which is the lish reformers certainly maintained the inward grace of the sacrament of bap.. scriptural view of this subjeet, and uptism, while the outward sign is barely on it was founded the service for bapwater. 4. The birth of the Spirit,” it tism; as well as the Catechism of the is said, " is their sanctification--the re- Protestant Episcopal Church. At newing of the Holy Ghost, by which tempts, however, have been made of they are vitally united with the Saviour, late to give a new meaning to our serand become spiritually and truly the vice; and to reconcile it with the exchildren of God.” 6. The one is the out- traordinary positions, that the thing ward and visible sign." Now that our signified does not always accompany entrance into the visible Chureh of the signanthat regeneration may take Christ can be an outward sign, is to us plerce before, at, or after baptism, ang altogether unintelligible. The outward that regeneration and conversion are:
synonymous terms. Far be it from us the bride present the bridegroom's relato charge the Bishop with such unfound- tives with some ears of corn, a pot of ed notions as these. Still we think, al- milk, and a cake of maize on which are though he has escaped these; he has rudely figured a distaff, knitting needles confused and bewildered a plain sub- and other suitable articles for women. ject.
T. This is a relic of a custom that obtained
in ancient Greece, where the relations
of the bridegroom used to send to those Of the Marriage Ceremonies of the of the bride the keys of her husband's Montenegrins.
house, together with a distaff and spin
dle, But, with the Montenegrins, every [Estracted from the British Review.]
part of this ceremony has a significant The nuptial ceremonies of the Mon- meaning. The ears of corn signify the tenegrins are nearly the same as those plenty, which the wife is expected to of the Greeks of Servia, Dalmatia, and aftord, by her frugal housekeeping; the the mouths of the Cattaro. When a milk denotes the gentleness and candor, young man wishes to marry a damsel which she will exhibit in all her actions; who resides at a distant village, the af- and the cake intimates the industry, fair is trensacted by the old men of their which will qualify her to be at the head respective villages, often without the of a family :-eloquent emblems these, parties affianced ever seeing each other. which speak loudly and impressively, The father, or some other near relative In return, the parents of the young man of the youth, repairs to the family with present those of the bride with a cake whom he is desirous of forming an al- of pure wheaten ftour, some raisins (or liance, attended by two other persons. if they be not in season, with some wine) All the daughters are presented to him, and several implements of agriculture, and he makes choice of one, without con- to signify that he will be indefatigably sidering whether she will please his son industrious, and will follow the example or not. It is seldom, however, that the of his ancestors, whose memory he will latter declines the person provided for honour by making good use of those im- . him, for in this country the rank, situa- plements, which in their hands have tion, and fortune of the husband are dis- procured all of them a happy and comregarded: whence it often happens fortable subsistence. that an opulent Montenegrin gives his When the wedding-day actually ardaughter in marriage to his farmer, and rives, all the relations on either side are not unfrequently to his servant. As invited to assemble at the bride's house; soon as the betrothed parties have seen whence she proceeds, amid a numerous each other, and express the slightest attendance, to her husband's dwelling, mutual desire to be united, the nuptial where she is feasted with every possible treaty is concluded. No written con- demonstration of joy. Thither she is tract is necessary, as the bride rarely immediately followed by her mother, brings with her more than her para- carrying a large white veil or handkerphernalia or wearing apparel. As soon chief, with which she covers her daughas the parents of the damsel have sig- ter's head and bosom, to remind her that nified their consent to the union, the modesty, candour, and implicit obedipriest goes to her, and is closeted with
ence to her husband's will, are henceher in the most retired part of the house. forth to characterize her conduct, and Here he receives her general confes- preserve her morals unblemished. Af sion, and gives her remission of all her
ter receiving her father's blessing, the sins, for which the parents are obliged bride, thus veiled, is conducted to church to pay him ten paras (about two pence between her father-in-law and the nearsterling), immediately on his quitting est relative of her husband, who are the apartment, and assuring them that sponsors to the wedding; and at the she is capable of being absolved. And moment, when all the members of the on the following day the intended wed- two families and their friends are assemding is formally published at church. bled together in front of the house, disDuring this publication the relations of charges of musketry commence, whick.
are repeated after the ceremony is per
Divorces are of rare occurrence, and formed, and are continued for the three are never occasioned by those circumfollowing days. During the nuptial fes- stances which produce them in more tival, which frequently lasts for several civilized life; though sometimes a bitdays, the priest officiates, of right, as ter enmity between the more remote master of the ceremonies; he announces relations of the married couple causes all the toasts, chants impromptu epitha- painful, and indeed cruel separations. lamiums, and leads off the choruses of The wife can in no case demand a dithe nuptial songs sung by others. New vorce. The husband purchases the life and vigour inspire the guests, and right of causing it to be pronounced by the meeting becomes sufficiently noisy, the curate, who convenes the nearest without degenerating into drunken or relations of both parties; and, after enugies or quarrels. At the same time, merating at great length the grievances the newly married couple, accompanied which the husband pretends to allege by their relatives and friends, daily against the wife, decides on the necesperambulate the streets and roads, which sity and justice of the divorce without lead to the hamlets depending on the the intervention of any other tribunal. principal village or town; this custom The whole ceremony of dissolving a does not appear to have originated in marriage, that has subsisted perhaps for ostentation, but is rather an act of no- many years, consists in presenting a toriety, which fully proves the authen- bottle of wine to the woman's relations, ticity of the nuptial contract.
each of whom drinks out of it: on ofThe preceding ceremonies take place, sering it to the husband, he refuses to when all the parties concerned give put it to his lips, and thus shows that he their consent to the wedding. Some perseveres in his intention. The priest times, however, it happens that the drinks the rest of the wine; and, imfather, or the damsel herself, rejects the mediately laying hold of the woman's young man who is intended for her apron, (who is usually dissolved in fiusband. In such case the latter, at- tears, he puts one end of it into the tended by some of his friends, almost hands of her father, or other near relaalways goes to her residence, whence tive, and the other into those of the hus. they take her whether willing or unwil. band's father. He then cuts it in two, ling, and conduct her before a priest, with a kind of knife that is kept excluwho, for a certain see, unites them to- sively for this purpose, and with a loud gether, regardless of all demands to the voice thus proclaims the dissolution of contrary. But, where the espousals the marriage--Heaven has disunited have been concluded, or a wedding ring you ! has been given as a preliminary present (which is usually done), and from some cause or other the nuptials are not cele Of the Act of Reconciliation among
the Montenegrins. brated, the parties affianced are not at liberty to form any new connexion, so
[From the same.
e.] long as the ring is not delivered up. One of the most interesting of the inIf the damsel finds a new claimant stitutions which exist among the Monfor her hand, she must restore the ring; tenegrins, is the act of reconciliation and if her former lover refuses to accept between two enemies. It is thus de it, she is obliged to remain in statu quo. scribed by Sommieres, whose prolix acOn the other hand, if the man is desir- count we have somewhat abridged: ous of marrying another woman, he “ When two families are desirous of must demand his ring; and if it be re- putting an end to their long protracted fused, the wedding is suspended. No resentments, whether for the purpose of priest will officiate, unless the very uniting against a common enemy, or ring be produced, and its identity well because time or their mutual interest ascertained ; while they will without has blunted the rage of pursuit, or from any hesitation pronounce the nuptial any other motive, they implore the conblessing in the case of forcible abduc- vocation of a Kmeti, special tribution.
nal composed of isenty-four old men, twelve of whom are chosen by each fą- when the ceremony is to be performed. mily. Of this special commission, the Their neighbours and private friends curate of the village, where the person are immediately apprised of it, in order last aggrieved or slain resided, or some that they may make preparations for other highly respected individual, is the most brilliant appearance in their appointed president: and in case the power; and also that they may avoid a members of the court are equally divid- painful humiliation by the failure of the ed, he has a casting vote. This, how- reconciliation. The next business is to ever, rarely occurs, as the several in- appoint the day, hour, and place, when terests of the parties concerned are pre- the sentence is to receive the sanction viously discussed, so that the result of of the public. The authority of the the meeting is almost certain.
Wladika, or principal bishop, and of ** On the day appointed for holding the governor, is always necessary, and this commission, a solemn mass is cele- is never withheld. These distinguished brated. Flags are displayed upon the magistrates cause the whole country to church, and in every avenue approach- be informed of the intended ceremony, ing to it, and the bells ring incessantly: and they themselves frequently assist at it is, however, worthy of remark, that, it, attended by a considerable retinue. on this occasion, they do not discharge Early in the morning of the day fixed a single måsket until the affair is com- for the act of reconciliation, and conpletely terminated, and all parties are sequently for payment of the money, on the point of separating. All the mem- the registrar sends twelve infants at the bers of the Kmeti are fasting; and the breast, (who are carried by their nurcompany present, whether men or wo- ses), to the house of the party aggrieved, men, vie with each other in the brillian- each of whom carries a small handkercy of their apparel on this day. chief, made of common linen cloth.
6 The Kmeti assembles one hour be- They knock at the door, and, on acfore che celebration of mass, to make a count of their innocence, it is supposed calculation of the blood tha! has been that they will soften the injured party; shed. A wound, which they call a blood, who, after resisting their cries and prayis valued at ten sequins, (about 4l. 10s. ers for some time, at length opens his sterling.) The death of a man, which door and receives the handkerchiefs. they term a head, is equivalent to ten On the same day a solemn mass is cewounds : consequently on paying one lebrated; a feast is kept, the flags are hundred sequins (about 451. sterling), a hung out, and the bells are rung, as beMontenegrin may rid himself of any one fore : on the conclusion of the mass, the who has either displeased or offended four and twenty arbitrators meet at the him. The head of a priest, as well as appointed place. This is usually within of the chief man of a commune, is fixed the enclosure of a convent, or near the at seven times the value of every other village church to which the injured perperson.. This kind of valuation has son belongs, who repairs thither, attendbeen established from time immemo- ed by all his relations, as well as by the rial: but at present it is varied accord- chieftains and old men of the place, ing to certain circumstances that may preceded by the pope or priest. At the induce the Kmeti to lessen it; though extremity of the enclosure they form a sometimes the prices are fixed, by mu- large semicircle, separate from the mulmal consent, through the intervention titude, within which the members of the of a third person."
Kmeti are placed. Out of the money thus cellected, the “ The aggressoi, escorted by his Kmeti is empowered to deduct forty nearest friends and relatives, makes his sequins for the stipends of its members; appearance immediately after, upon his but it is always given to the guilty per- knees, having the murderous instru. son immediately after the act of recon- ment of his last assassination suspended ciliation has taken place. The balance from his neck: and in this humble posbeing ascertained, the Kmeti communi- ture he advances, dragging himseli on cates the result of its proceedings to the his hands and knees, until he comes in panies themselves, whio fix the moment front of the Kineti. The pope then