Sidor som bilder

c. 30, in memory of the murder of King Charles I.; III., the 29th of May, appointed by 12 Car. II., c. 14, in memory of the birth and return of Charles II. Besides these the crown has appointed the day of the sovereign's accession to be kept and observed; but as there is no other authority for this, the body of the act omits altogether all notice of it.

Now let us turn to the calendar appended to, referred to, and authorized by, this act :

"Certain solemn days for which particular services are appointed.

"I. The fifth of November, being the day kept in memory of the papists' conspiracy.

"II. The thirtieth of January, being the day kept in memory of the martyrdom of King Charles the First.

"III. The nine and twentieth day of May, being the day kept in memory of the birth and return of King Charles the Second."- Gibson, 1265.

This is the same which was provided by convocation in 1662, and here is backed by act of parliament. The reader must understand that for these three days only had " particular services been appointed" by the joint authority of convocation and crown; and that for the purposes, and the purposes only, specified in the calendar; but that since that act of the ecclesiastical legislature the crown had made alterations, not only in all the three services, but in the very purposes for which the "days" were to be "kept." The fifth of November, which the ecclesiastical legislature had only provided with a service in memory of the papists' conspiracy, the crown had appointed to be kept also in memory of the landing of him who was afterwards King William III., and had altered the service accordingly. But of this act of the crown alone, the act of parliament takes no notice, and merely enjoins the day to be kept in memory of that event for which. a "particular service" had been "appointed" by the ecclesiastical legislature. Again, the twenty-ninth of May, which the ecclesiastical legislature had provided with a service in memory of the birth and return of King Charles the Second, the crown had appointed to be kept only in memory of his restoration, and had altered the service accordingly, omitting those parts which alluded to King Charles the Second's birth. But of this act of the crown alone, the act of parliament takes no notice, but enjoins the day to be kept in memory of both those events "for which a particular service" had been "appointed" by the ecclesiastical legislature. Once more; besides these three days, the crown had appointed a fourth day to be kept in memory of the sovereign's accession, and had appointed a particular service for it. But of this act of the crown alone, the act of parliament takes no notice, and only enjoins those days to be kept "for which particular services" had been "appointed" by the ecclesiastical legislature.

I will not add a word of comment. I will only observe, that up to the end of the reign of George II. the distinction was preserved. The use of the four services was not then, as now, clubbed together in one proclamation, as if all were of equal authority. But there were two proclamations-one, a continuation of that of King Charles II., enjoining those three services (which had been appointed by the eccle

siastical legislature) to be printed and appended to the Book of Common Prayer, the other enjoining the fourth service, with which the ecclesiastical legislature had had nothing to do, merely to be printed and published, but not presuming to direct it to be appended to the Book of Common Prayer. The first proclamation, clubbing them altogether, and ordering them all to be appended to the Prayer Book, was in the year 1761; and this, till better informed, I will venture to consider another encroachment of the crown upon the liberty of the church.

Nothing, of course, can be more proper than that the day of the sovereign's accession should be devoutly celebrated every year; but what I confess myself unable to understand is, why "line and rule" should be departed from, and an irregular course engaged in, instead of making use of the ecclesiastical legislature, which would remove all scruples.

In one point you misunderstood me in my last. When I expressed "an opinion that the bishops only are competent to offer objection to❞ "the constitution of our provincial convocations," I merely meant such objection as went to deny the authority of those convocations, which, through mistake as it now appears, I had understood you to do. As to whether the present form of our ecclesiastical assemblies is good or bad, it is, I think, quite open to discussion. My only fear is that, under existing circumstances, any change will be a change for the worse, not for the better. I beg you will consider this communication as a token of the continuance of my regard for yourself and for your Magazine, to which I have long been a very constant contributor. Had I understood your articles in December and January merely to express a difference of opinion, I should probably have hardly noticed it; they seemed to me to convey much more, and I replied accordingly.

You must excuse me for not noticing your P.S. further than to say, that I cannot withdraw what I said as to the appearance which those exhibit who run down the only constitutional organ for the clergy which this church and nation at present recognise. That in your case it is appearance only, and not reality, I am happy to find placed beyond suspicion by your article on "the Church Commission," in this, the March number.

I will conclude with one extract upon convocation from the writings of a mutual friend, now at rest:—

"It was a noble end of convocation to be put down for censuring Hoadley, and the censure looks well as the last record in Wilkins' Concilia. The sun that sets so bright must have a rising."-Froude's Remains, I. 337.

I am, yours in truth, ALPHA.

P.S. It appears by the foregoing statements, that the calendar which stands in our Common Prayer Books is not that which was provided by convocation in 1662 and confirmed by parliament in 1751, but has been interpolated. By what warrant have the University presses and the king's printers ventured upon this?


SIR,-There are some remarks on belief, in a little volume on Logic, lately published by Francis W. Newman, Esq., late Fellow of Balliol College, which appear to me erroneous; and important, inasmuch as the work has, I believe, had considerable circulation.

Page 35, Mr. Newman observes :—

Certainly no man believes a proposition, except in the sense in which he understands it; and if he have no understanding of it, he has positively no belief in it.” He proceeds :


According to their (the Romish doctors') nomenclature, if the church teaches a dogma, a man who rightly understands and believes it has explicit faith; but a man who misunderstands but means to believe what was intended, has implicit or virtual faith...... Many of them hold that this has all the merit of explicit faith; but none can deny that its effects are widely different. If I tell a man that his house is on fire, and he believes me, he will probably run for the engines; but if he do not understand, he may have implicit faith, but he will remain quite inactive."

Now this is not a fair statement. Though total ignorance in any. matter does indeed preclude belief, yet partial ignorance does not.* In the case supposed, a man might have an extremely inadequate conception of my meaning, yet abundantly sufficient to excite him to action.

Page 41, Mr. Newman supposes a gnostic enouncing two apparently. contradictory propositions, and proceeds :

"If our gnostic fully admitted that our reduction of the second proposition was legitimate, what would be thought of his folly, or madness, in endeavouring to uphold them simultaneously, and to overbear our modesty, by descanting upon our ignorance of the matter treated on ?"

Of course, if he first admitted that we fully understood the propositions, he could not afterwards refer the apparent contradiction to our ignorance. But suppose, without intimating that we could understand the propositions, he proved that they were both revealed; should we not be right to refer any apparent contradiction to our ignorance? And is it not supposable that we might understand enough to constitute a faith without knowing enough to reconcile the apparent contradiction? Page 42:

"Were it otherwise, we could never assail a false religion at all. A Mohammedan, a Brahmin, a Buddhist, could all talk in this high strain, and abash us by an appeal to our ignorance."

We believe in our religion on the ground of its testimony; of this testimony reason can judge, though it may not be able to reconcile all apparent contradictions in the truths revealed. Ignorance cannot stand in the place of testimony, but may be a sufficient answer to objections to its reception. Seeing God's omnipotency in the hands. of our blessed Lord and his apostles, we dare not for an instant suspect God's veracity in their words;+ and to whatever difficulties we may meet with, our ignorance is a sufficient reply. So in the sacred

Butler Anal. p. 159. Ed. Oxford. 1826. + Bishop Pearson, Init.

doctrine of the Trinity, its proof is not rested on our ignorance, but on the testimony of scripture: we only bring forward our ignorance in answer to objections arising from any apparent contradictions. Mr. Newman evidently confounds partial with total ignorance. To have a lively faith (the most remote possible from inactivity) in a doctrine, it is not necessary fully to comprehend it. Though we have not a theoretical knowledge, we may have a practical one, sufficient to be a lantern to our paths, sufficient, in the "very nonplus of our reason, to yield a yet fairer opportunity to our faith." Though


we see through a glass darkly," yet we are not in total darkness, "but within the fringes and circles of a bright cloud," where our duty is "to search as far into it as we are guided by the light of God, and, where we are forbidden by the thicker part of the cloud, to step back and worship." +

It were easy to shew that Mr. Newman is not infallible in other matters. Page 37, he observes :—

"A pure syllogizer would look on the two statements, that most men are liars,' and very few men are liars,' as meaning the same identical thing, both being merged under the vaguer proposition, that some men are liars.'"

[ocr errors]

Vague, indeed, must be the syllogizer's notions of logic! The two statements are rhetorical ɛikóra, one of which asserts of men (i. e., mankind in general) that they are mostly, probably, ws inì rò noλú,‡ liars; the other, that they are mostly, probably, ws ¿ñì rò noλú, not liars. But viewing the statements as a 'pure syllogizer," whoever used the relative terms "most," and "very few," must have mentally divided mankind into two classes, a majority and a minority. One statement predicates liars of the majority, the other of the minority. I can scarcely conceive that any system of logic would teach us to consider these statements as identical.

I cannot forbear adding, that there are many truths which present apparent contradictions as great as any Mr. Newman has quoted, which yet are most firmly believed; e. g., the Almighty is infi itely wise and infinitely benevolent. Evil (moral as well as physical) Can Mr. Newman reconcile these propositions? If he can,, he can do what all have hitherto failed in doing. Yet will he say, that when I believe the scripture revelation, that "God is love," I believe no more than that a certain proposition is true? § I have, doubtless, only an implicit faith according to his definition || yet that faith is sufficient to lay me under the highest obligations of love and reverence to be my stay in the darkest hour of distress and difficulty.

I do not know whether you will think these remarks worthy of insertion; but as the subject is of the utmost importance, and the book of considerable circulation in this university, it appears to me that it should be noticed in some way; and this is my only motive for addressing you on this occasion. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, OXONIENSIS.

* South, Sermon on Gen. i, 27.
Arist. Rhet.

+ Bishop Taylor, vol. xv. p. 413.
Newm. p. 36.
|| P. 36.


SIR,-There seems to be a very common notion among the clergy that it is now no longer necessary to send copies of our Marriage Registers to the Bishop's Court, as has been the practice heretofore. That there is ground for such a notion cannot be gainsaid, since the new Registration Acts have entirely omitted to give any direction on the point. But a question will arise, whether it would be wise to take advantage of this omission, and adopt a course, because the law allows it, which will render the Diocesan Registers altogether imperfect as books of reference. It appears from clause 49 of the Act for registering Births, Deaths, and Marriages, "that nothing therein contained shall affect the registration of baptisms or burials as now by law established." The clause does not go on to say marriages, as that would have evidently been to mar the object of the framers of the act. From this clause it seems to be generally inferred, that the law still continues in force which requires the clergy, at the commencement of every year, to make a return to the registrar of the diocese of all baptisms and burials that have taken place within the year preceding. But nothing is said from which it can possibly be similarly inferred that the law contemplates in future copies of the marriage registers to be sent along with them. There being this uncertainty, perhaps some one will procure from the proper quarter an opinion on the subject, and through the British Magazine and other channels make it public, for the guidance of the clergy, as early as possible.

Some clergymen, again, who are willing to make returns of their parish registers as usual to the Bishop's Court, independent of any liberty that may be given them to act otherwise by the recent acts, feel, with regard to the marriage registers, at a loss as to what form they may use. The old is shorter and more simple, and savours less of the leaven of Herod or statistical economy, than the new. Yet I do not think this reason would be sufficient for adhering to a form which has become obsolete, and may therefore, for anything I know, be rejected as proper documentary evidence in our courts of law and elsewhere. If we are to have the trouble of making and transcribing these things at all, a preference ought undoubtedly to be given to that form which the legislature has prescribed. And this in the end will save the trouble of keeping one book of marriage registration for the registrar-general, and another for the registrar of the diocese.

I am, my dear Sir, yours very truly, R. B.


SIR, It is a complaint almost universal in our churches, that the congregation will not make the proper responses. In the parts of the service which are assigned to the people, they are either silent altogether, or repeat the answers in a low and scarcely audible whisper. I need not point out to you how serious is this evil; how much it

« FöregåendeFortsätt »