« FöregåendeFortsätt »
which distracts the Church of Christ, still pretends to justify itself upon Scriptural authority. This Society is anxious to guard the inestimable treasure of Holy Writ, by the best interpretations of the learned and the pious; and to send forth the Bible, accompanied by the authorized formularies of the Established Church, by summaries of religious knowledge, and the most persuasive exhortations to religious practice."
Mr. M. next combats with considerable energy, and in a very satisfactory manner the idea that human agency and assistance in the interpretation of Scripiete, are derogatory to the sufficiency of țhe Bible, and the grace of God's Holy Spirit. That the Almighty has used the ministry of men as well as of angels in all his dealings with mankind from the beginning of the world, must be an acknowledged fact : and that his covenant with the buman race contained in the Gospel of bis Son Jesus Christ, afford no exception in this particular, the records of that Gospel bear sufficient testimony. Consider the first ordination of the twelve Apostles by our Lord, and the appointment of a regular ministry, who exercised their office not only in the administration of the sacraments, but (even amongst those converts on whom the Holy Spirit had been poured out in an extraordinary and miraculous manner), “ in explaining what was obscure, resolving what was doubtful, correcting what was mistaken, and confirming what was rightly apprehended." This fact the author justly considers as plainly demonstrating the truth of the above assertion.
He next justifies the demand which the Society makes from those who wish to be incorporated in it, of a pledge of their attachment to the Established Church: this he does generally on the ground that the truths of Scripture are best preserved and promulgated by the doctrines of our Church : but more particularly in a passage which on account of its vigour, animation and truth, we lament that we have not room to insert, because that principle falsely called charity which would embrace all alike, and give the right-hand of fellowship equally to those who belong to Christ, and to those who " deny the Lord that bought then," would act in the present instance not only to the neglect of that household of faith of which we are members, and for whose wants we are more particularly bound to provide, but to the kindling of division, and the propagation, instead of the refutation, of false doctrine, heresy and sehism. He knows little of human nature, or of the connection between causes and effects, who can sus pose that real harmony is produced, or that the cause of pure Christianity is advanced by an union among Churchmen, Methodists, Socinians, Quakers, and dissenters of all denominations, all maintaining different, and some of them diametrically opposite
opinions on the interpretation of that Bible, which they profess to distribute withoat note or comment. The seeds of division are in the very constitution of such a society : and does not daily observation assure us that the fruit is not different from the seed? With respect to the certificate required of candidates for admission into the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, we own ourselves 30 strongly impressed with a sense of its excellence, nay of its necessity, that we cannot refrain from mentioning, through a wish to see it rectified, at least the partial neglect of it which we know prevails in more than one diocese. May we not suggest, with the utmost respect however for that very ineritorious body of men the Secretaries of the District Societies, that though only a form, yet that to a conscientious man about to sign it, it would be a sacred and an obligatory one-one which might certainly act as a mean for preventing the admission of an objectionable person: and that if it is neglected, the Diocesan Societies by an indiscriminate admission of members whose attachinent to the Church is not vouched for, may add to the numbers rather than to the support of the parent society, and at the same time run the risk of aiding schism and error rather than unity and orthodoxy? After a judicious comment on the beneficial effects in aid of the Society, that may be confidently looked for from the exertions of the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the prin. ciples of the Established Church, the author brings us to his conclusion, with which on account of the devout and Christian feeling that it evinces, we shall also conclude our remarks: first how.' ever acknowledging our obligations to the District Committee at Leicester for the publication at their request and charge of a Sermon, which if not remarkable for brilliancy of invention or the charm of eloquence, is well worthy, not only for the genuine piety and soundness of doctrine with which it abounds, but for the right grounds on which it places the cause of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, of a serious and attentive perusal. After stating that the means of obtaining Christian Knowledge are through the exertions of the Society, open to all “ without money and without price," who cammot procure then for themselves, the author thus concludes:
" It is not therefore for lack of knowledge,' that our people, are destroyed,' if unhappily this should ever be the case; but it is for not suffering that knowledge, after it has been received into the understanding, to influence the heart also, to subdue its evil propensities, and to bring their lives into subjection, and every thought into captivity to the law of Christ. It is because through the violence of unmortified and unruly passions, they will not do those things which they know to be their duty, that they cannot look forward with reasonable hope to the happiness which Christ
hath purchased for them. May our obedience to the Gospel of Christ be hearty and unfeigned, and in every instance proportioned to our knowledge of it! and may the Spirit of the Lord rest upon us, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord, that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same, that “adorning the doctrine' and knowledge of God our Saviour in all things, we may contribute to the promotion of it in our own days, and transmit it unimpaired, and increasing in its effect, te succeeding generations!"
Art. XI. A Manual for the Parish Priest, being a few Hints
on the Pastoral Care, to the younger Clergy of the Church of England; from an elder Brother. 12mo. pp. 179. 45,
Rivingtons. 1815. We have seldom met with a book more fully calculated to produce the full effect which its author designed than the treatise before us. We recommend it, and most strongly and earnestly recommend it, to every parish priest, as a most earnest, judicious, and Christian guide to him in his most awfully responsible office. Every warm, every tender, every holy feeling, is here displayed in its strongest light, without the slightest admisture of cant or fa. naticisni. Less for its own sake than for the sake of those who read it, we wish it prosperity. We scarcely know which most to applaud, the advice which it gives, or the judgment with which that advice is given. Let us take the chapter upon the private labour of the clergy.
" • HE understands but little of the nature and obligations of the priestly office,' says Bishop Burnet, who thinks he has discharged it by performing the public appointments.' .!
“ Various certainly and of the highest importance are the private duties of the parish priest. To visit the sick-to pay attention to the schools where children of the lower orders are instructedand above all, to keep up that intercourse with his parishioners which will give him an insight into their manners and habits, should form a considerable part of his occupation.
“ The visiting the sick stands foremost amongst the private labours of the parochial minister. An inspired writer, one of the Apostles, who conversed with our Blessed Lord after His resurrection upon the things concerning His kingdom, has left a direction, that when Christians are visited with sickness, they shall send for their spiritual guides ; Is any sick among you,' says St. James, Jet hin
call for the elders of the Church and let them
pray over him.”' And our Church has enjoined her clergy not only to attend on such occasions, but to resort to those who are by them known to be dangerously sick. (Canon 67.)
“ The attentive pastor, therefore, will not wait till he is summoned, but on the first intimation that one of his flock is indisposed, he will consider that there his duty calls, and thither he will repair. Nor will he content himself with going through the appointed offi. ces in a perfunctory manner, with merely reading the visitation prayers, or administering the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. He will consider this is an opportunity of giving that spiritual advice of which, from his knowledge of the patient, he may be aware he stands in need.—This is sometimes a season of advantage that may never return, a favourable minute for fighting the grand adversary with his own weapons, and gaining a victory over him. The great enemy of the soul, we learn from Scripture, is constantly walking about, seeking and watching for every moment of weakness to ensnare mankind. His power is now weakened, all earthly considerations are vanishing from the sight of a being, who fecis perhaps, for the first time, that he is mortal. Let the minister seize this fortunate, this favourable hour, given to him for pressing upon his parishioner the importance of religion, and opening a way for the wandering sheep to return into the path of piety and virtue. When such an opportunity occurs, of awakening to a sense of his duty the transgressor of God's laws, or rousing the attention of a careless Christian, it should not be allowed to pass by ; returning health may harden a heart softened only by sickness; and a hasty summons at a future period may arrive, when the lamp is in an equally untrimmed state, and, when there is no time to provide oil.
" To the sinner and the worldly ininded, the presence of the parish priest is particularly necessary in the time of sickness, to urge upon the one the necessity of repentance, and to shew the other the folly of that indifference in his spiritual concerns, which he so anxiously avoids in his temporal affairs. To the former, let the minister of God declare, how plainly and explicitly the divine wrath is denounced in Scripture against life of wickedness, against wilful habitual sin ; that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and that none shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but those who work righteousness. Upon the latter let him strongly impress this momentous truth, that the Ala mighty must be served with a perfect heart and a willing mind,' that although no particular vice may lie heavy on his conscience, yet this will not atone for the absence of every active virtue and of all vital religion—that God and mammon cannot be served at the same time; two masters whose commands are so diametrically opposite cannot be obeyed. If we hold to the God of this world, we must despise the God of Heaven. By a fond attachment to earthe ly things, we break the first and great commandment of loving the Lord our God with all the mind, and soul, and strength. Upon Oo
both yoL. VI, NOVEMBER, 1816.
both however should be carefully inculcated, that whenever the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath commit. ed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive; that no truly repentant sinner is rejected by our heavenly Father, the returning prodigal is received with complacency, and even with satisfaction; that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. This is the time for him who is set to watch for the souls of his parishioners, to discourse both upon the terrors, and upon the mercies of the Lord, to use every method to persuade the nominal to become a real Christian. This is a time when he must be heard, and when he will most probably be attended to; the power of the spiritual enemy is, as I have before observed in a great degree fallen, and the spiritual guide is placed upon the vantage ground.
“ Though the presence of the pastor is most necessary to this description of his sick parishioners, and though success will generally attend his labours, yet sometimes the good seed will be scattered on very unfavourable soils ; it will lie neglected on the mind hardened by a too close adherence to the world, and it will barely meet with a reception from the dull and stony heart: his advice he will find in some cases received with indifference, and his prayers joined in with coldness.
“ These uncomfortable visits however will be compensated by his attendance upon the virtuous, devout, sensible part of his flock. He will frequently experience the satisfaction of sitting at the side of a pious Christian, called by the will of his Heavenly Father to suffer under disease or sorrow, humbling himself beneath the chastizing hand of God, and resigned to all the dispensations of his providence. He will find him viewing with indifference the things which merely concern this world, and fixing his mind upon the things eternal ; looking back with comfort upon a life spent in an earnest endeavour to please God, and forward with hope, that through the merits of the Redeemer, he shall enjoy a state of rest and peace in Christ's lingdom in Heaven.
“Here the labour is sweet ; all is comfort ; the temporal circumstances of the sufferer must awaken a sympathetic sorrow, but the prospect into the eternal state of his parishioner, will cause the well-instructed pastor, to sorrow with such a hope as will turn his mourning into joy.” P. 84.
Of the following advice to the young parish priests, we cannot speak in terms of too high commendation.
“ In these days then, when wolves of the wildest description are constantly prowling about, seeking whom they may devour, let me advise my brethren to be always upon the alert ; to be ever walking round and round the fold Their appearance alone will contribute greatly to safety. When the watchman is seen at his post, the robber is generally deterred from bis purpose. Where the Minister is known to be in the habit of this intercourse with his parishioners, there the itinerant preacher, and the hawker of en