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I have before me the “ Catholic Magazine and Review” of January, 1833, and copy the words from the translation therein provided. How, I ask, can this by any possibility be made to agree with the following assertion of the Bishop of Liga (Baines),
in his sermon on the dedication of the Roman-catholic chapel at' Bradford :—“We worship no creature whatever, and therefore not the saints ; but at least we pray to them. Yes, my Christian brethren, just as St. Paul prayed to his own converts, or 1 pray to you. Under this persuasion, I say to them as I just now said to you, Holy Mary, holy Peter, holy Paul, pray for me. What is there in reason or revelation to forbid me to do so ?” See also the “ Protestant Journal” of January, 1834. Here it is clear that either the Bishop of Rome or the Bishop of Liga have grievously misunderstood and misrepresented the doctrine of their own church, it being quite evident to the most careless reader that the Bishop of Rome prays to St. Peter and St. Paul in a sense totally different from that in which St. Paul prayed to his converts ! Let Roman-catholics freely take their choice whether they will be disciples of the Vatican or of Prior Park, and consider impartially which authority is the highest. Two more examples, and I have done. In the Litany of Loretto, which is to be found in Bishop Challoner's “ Garden of the Soul," a book which has had some circulation among the Roman-catholics of this country, we have the following prayer :-“We fly to thy patronage, O sacred mother of God; despise not our prayers in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever glorious and blessed virgin.” Again, I ask, is this the manner in which St. Paul prayed to his converts, or the Bishop of Liga prays to his congregation? Can we ask more than this of the one true God, or ask it more directly?. St. Bonaventure, a Roman saint and cardinal, turned the book of Psalms into a formulary of prayer and praise to the virgin. The following is one out of the many instances :-“ Have mercy upon me, O lady, who art called the mother of mercy, and according to the bowels of thy mercies cleanse me from all mine iniquities.” Lastly, see No. 410 of the list on the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, called “Faber's Facts and Assertions,” page 49 :-“ Hail, Mary, lady and mistress of the world, to whom all power has been given in heaven and in earth !” Be assured that it affords me no pleasure or satisfaction to be able to collect such evidence of the idolatrous practices of any branch of the Christian church; but I think it of the highest importance that the truth should be known and proclaimed, especially at a time like the present, when agents are busy in all quarters“ beguiling unstable souls.
On a future occasion I will, if you permit me, consider the degree of worship given by the Romish church to images.
I am, Sir, yours sincerely, A LAYMAN.
ON MR. NEWMAN'S CHARACTER OF LOT.-SERMONS, VOL. III. Sir, I am sure that Mr. Newman would immediately agree with me, that whenever we venture to infer the unrecorded motive from the
recorded action, and then from both to draw the character of a man, even to the blameable habits or opinions that made him susceptible of the motives we have ventured to assign, the greatest caution should be used at every step of so hazardous a process.
According to that gentleman's view of Lot's character, he is an example of “common men who are religious to a certain point, and inconsistent in their lives, not aiming at perfection.” The first error charged against him is his choice of the valley of the Jordan, of which Luther says, “Scriptura non dicit malum an bonum fecerit opus." It has, indeed, been generally supposed that this was the choice of a covetous man, who thought more of the rich pastures than of the sinful inhabitants; but I am persuaded that it was not so certainly an indication of covetousness as to justify us in charging that idolatry upon him.
I believe that this notion arose from supposing that the fertility of the country is mentioned as what excited the cupidity of Lot. But another reason for the mention of it seems to me at least equally probable. The persons for whom Moses was immediately writing knew the district only as it was after the judicial overthrow of the guilty cities: it was necessary, therefore, to account to them for Lot's making choice of a region which was in their days one of fearful sterility. As to the separation itself, it was necessary; “ the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together;" the proposal to separate comes from Abraham, who even uses the language of entreaty; “Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me." It is not said that Lot knew how much the wickedness of the cities of the plain exceeded the ordinary wickedness of the inhabitants of Canaan; there is no mention of any previous warning or subsequent remonstrance on Abraham's part; it is not even hinted that he disapproved of his nephew's choice; it is probable that Lot made a great sacrifice when he consented to separate himself from the heir of the promises and take up his abode among strangers; and it is surely an important consideration, that this supposed instance of remarkable covetousness is not mentioned as such in any one passage of the Bible.
“In the meantime," says Mr. Newman, “ Abraham is left without any earthly portion.” This remark seems intended to contrast Abraham's condition with Lot's; but surely when Lot “chose him all the plain of Jordan,” he had no power to choose it for his own possession: he only made choice of it as the district in which he would search for a dwelling place, not knowing in what part of it he would be allowed to settle.
We are then told that “a calamity was sent to rebuke and reclaim him.” Mr. N. infers this from our knowledge that “all affliction is calculated to try and improve us;" a principle from which we may safely conclude that it ought to have this effect upon all who are visited by it, but from which it does not follow that this particular calamity was sent for the purpose of rebuking and reclaiming Lot, rather than as a warning and punishment to the guilty Sodomites, a forerunner of the calamity that was soon to overwhelm them.
Even with respect to Lot's continuing to dwell at Sodom after his captivity, I do not feel that we can be quite sure that he was to blame. May we not suppose that God intended that the Sodomites should paleiv toữ AWT thì đperhr—[Chrysost.) and thus receive a final though ineffectual call to repentance ? Not that conduct is always justified by its good consequences; but at all events Mr. Newman’s remark, that “ Lot is called a just man by St. Peter, and referred to as hospitable by St. Paul,”
," * is an under-statement , . an unintentional one, I am sure . .. of the actual testimony of the inspired writers to his character. “ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds ;) the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
Surely this is a very different thing from calling a man just and hospitable. Lot's gracious preservation is here given as a proof of God's power to deliver the godly (evoeßeīs) out of temptations; he is styled, emphatically, o dikaios, -and we are assured that, far from growing callous to the wickedness of his fellow-citizens, he took it exceedingly to heart, and vexed himself with it day after day! On reading this passage, one feels almost inclined to think with Chrysostom that εις άκραν της αρετής την κορυφήν ή του πατριαρχου συνουσία τον δίκαιον τούτον ανήγαγεν.+ (The society of the patriarch raised this just man to the highest pitch of virtue.)
T. K. A.
I am, &c.
MINISTERS AMONG THE QUAKERS. Sir,-Will you allow me to give a word of information on a point which I see has escaped your notice. I am willing to believe that perhaps some of your readers may not know much more about the subject than I myself did a short time ago.
In your last number (May), at the foot of an extract from the “ Morning Herald,” you wonder at the error of those who speak of John Wilkinson, the late seceder, as a minister of the Society of Friends, and you affirm “ The Friends have no ministers.”
I will first make you an apology, and then I am afraid I must be so rude as to contradict you flatly, and affirm on my part that the Friends have ministers—appointed ministers-I must not say ordained to the holy office, for the word would give offence, but approved (that is the Quaker phrase) and set apart for the ministry.
The Society of Friends, as an exclusive church, is not so unorganized and without church government as some people imagine. It has discipline—strict discipline, everybody knows; but it has also difference of degrees among its members—being governed by a regular presbytery—under the name of “ elders,” who have the right of electing
• Mr. N. allows that he was “doubtless a confessor of the truth among the wretched inhabitants of the cities in which he dwelt."
+ Ed. Savile, vol.i., p. 348.
the members of their own body, and whose peculiar office it is to approve ministers, and to reprove and silence them if they see occasion.
I need not tell any one that any individual of the Friends' Society, whether minister or not, may address the meeting, if he believes himself inwardly moved ; and many private members do preach week after week, who, nevertheless, are not ministers. The ministers are the approved preachers, whom the elders have set apart for the sacred office, as men duly qualified, of tried piety and power. A distinction is then made : the ministers sit in the gallery with the elders, and preach from thence; while the ordinary preacher, who has not yet been approved, continues to speak “ from the floor."
The Friends' ministers have other duties, of a public and private nature, to perform, which are peculiar to their office. I should add that women are not unfrequently, in spite of St. Paul's protest, regularly approved and appointed ministers, and sometimes it happens that a woman is the only minister of a meeting frequented by fifty or a hundred members.
The late secession of John Wilkinson is so important to the interests of truth, that I had half a mind to offer a few remarks upon it. But I am afraid I have already trespassed too long on your patience, and perhaps I should be telling no new thing to your readers, most of whom, I dare say, have taken as much interest in the matter as I have myself. I am, Sir, yours, very truly,
G. C. Alton, May 16, 1836.
MR. DOWLING. SIR,—Having replied to everything in Mr. Dowling's first letter relative to the quotation I had made from his pamphlet, I supposed I had done all that he could reasonably require.
To his charge respecting personalities, I answer that they are all on his own side. With his argument I have dealt freely; but against his person, his character, his talents, or even his book, I have said nothing. Am I personal because I allow him to be “ learned"? If I had, indeed, treated him as, in the opening paragraph of his second letter, he has treated me, he might, with reason, have complained of “ personal attacks."
He attempts no “detailed reply" to my letter, on the ground that he has “ nothing to answer ;” which I believe to be true, though not in the sense he intends. I neither “affected,” nor charged him with “ affecting, to misunderstand his illustrations,” but with really misunderstanding them; and I made good the charge, by shewing that they served my cause rather than his own. Yet, I meant no “incivility” in thus turning his controversial weapons back upon himself,
* Many thanks to “ G. C.” for his valuable letter. It contains information to one person, certainly, and probably to many. But will he further say what are the public and private duties required of these ministers? Probably Mr. Clarkson may supply these particulars, but his book is not at hand. It appears that any one may preach; and there are no sacraments among the Quakers. -Ed.
That the testimony he had given was favourable to Milner I both fully believed when I quoted it, and do still; yet, I also believe as fully he now wishes it had never been given.
His explanation of the phrase “ literary capacity,” as applied to the divines of the last century, will not avail to extricate him from the horns of the dilemma in which he was placed. He says, “I did not allude to what proficiency they could have attained in ecclesiastical history.” To which my answer is, that I never understood him to make such an allusion, nor argued on so absurd a supposition. In truth, he reasons from the term “ literary capacity," as equivalent to the term “ natural capacity.” I may find a peasant who “could,” under suitable instruction, have attained proficiency in literature; yet, if his natural talents have not been cultivated, it would still be true that he has no “ literary capacity.” So also, many scholars of the last century might have furnished their minds with ecclesiastical literature; but if they failed to do so, they were in a state of literary incapacity for the work which Milner undertook. Now, Mr. Dowling's language was not, “ No one did write”—but, “ No one could have written such a history better” than Milner; which can mean nothing less than that " no one had made equal proficiency with him in ecclesiastical literature.” And this is either to exalt Milner, or to depreciate the age in which he lived, more than I should choose to do.
With regard to that part of Mr. Dowling's letter in which he requires me to notice his tract, I am afraid I can neither speak nor keep silence without giving offence. Does he demand my opinion as a right, or ask it as a favour? If he demands it as a right, the demand is so extraordinary that I can hardly think him serious in making it. If fifty persons chose to write on the same subject as myself, they might each lay as good a claim to my opinion on their several productions. But Mr. Dowling, of all men, onght not to have come forward with such a demand; for if he really thinks that my
" usual tactics are to make the matter in dispute the ground of a mere per sonal attack, and if he accounts me a “great proficient” in a “strange kind of literary cavilling," what good can he expect from controversy with me? It would be impossible that he should value my approbation, and absurd that he should regard my censure. It is rather singular, in any circumstances, that an author should wish his work to be assailed, for the purpose of giving him the opportunity of defending it; but that he should call, in a peremptory tone, for the approval or the opposition of one whom he can scarcely do less than despise, is a course which all Mr. Dowling's talent will be insufficient to explain or justify. I will, however, state, for his information, that his tract on the « Paulicians” has not produced the conviction on my mind which its author imagines. I did not publicly notice it, because I hesitated to state my views, without supporting them by facts and reasonings, which would have implied the writing of a book. I doubted whether the question itself would be deemed sufficiently interesting by the public to render such a labour advisable. And I further thought my time not so completely at my own disposal as to VOL. IX.-June, 1836.