Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

ing letter, and to Dr. Oswald for his valuable present. The fundamental principle of his Appeal * is not only right, but of the greatest importance, and he hath treated 'the subject with great justice and perspicuity; great inildness and decency towards those whom he confutes, great seriousness and propriety towards those whom he exhorts. I long to see that application of his doctrine to the primary truths of revealed religion particularly, which, in his conclusion, he signifies his intention of making; for the short specimens of it which he hath given in one or two places, only excite desires of more. His Sermon is an excellent one. The Letters which follow it are incomparable, and inexpressibly adapted to the present state of these pations. But though their connection with the Sermon is very natural, I want to have them freed from it, and printed separately, that they may get into more hands, and be considered by those who disdain to read ser

God be thanked for the many good performances in fupport of religion which we have had from Scotland, whilst the English

clergy seemed of late to fail of contributing their share! Dr. Oswald's language is no less pure and elegant than his sentiments are just and striking. In some few places he uses will and would, where an Englishman would say shall and should; as in Appeal, p. 138, 139, 164, 300, 305. Letter II. p. 353. Sermon, p. 39, 40. Letter VHI. P. 35, twice; and, on the other hand, shall where we should say will, Appeal, p. 163. But our manner of speaking may appear as wrong to you, as your's to us ; and perhaps there is no sure ground in the nature of the language for prefer. ring either. Inttead of set aside, p. 153, which amongst us fignifies not employing, we would say set apart, which intimates a purpose of employing ; but this is altogether arbitrary. Sustain, Letter II. p. 53, and elsewhere, I believe is a term of law in Scotland of merely the same meaning with maintain. We also use the word, but not in the same sense. . Give me leave to ask the two persons meant in the Appeal, p. 38. I desire you and Dr. Oswald to accept each of you a copy of the little matters which I have printed: my bookseller will send them down to you. The doctor and I have spoken somewhat differently of Charles I. and I think may allow one another so té do. Your faithful friend and servant,

Tho. Cant." Lambeth, Sept. 10, 1767.

• “ An Appeal to Common Sense, in Behalf of Religion," 8vo. 1767. Printed at Edinburgh.

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

Some further Remarks on Reading; and on administering

the Sacraments.

AM pleased, my dear brother, with the satisfaction you (peating decency of dress and appearance, are very juft; and the instances you mention of the disgusting effects of a disregard to it, are very striking,

Happening to dip into bishop Burnet's Pastoral Care, I fell upon a passage, which will serve to strengthen what I have urged in other parts of that letter: “From his study, says the bishop, I go next to the public functions of the clergyman : he must bring his mind to an inward and feeling sense of those things which are prayed for in our offices : that will make him pronounce them with an equal measure of gravity and affection, and with a due flowness and emphasis. I do not love the theatrical way of the church of Rome, in which it is a great study and a long practice to learn in every one of their offices, how they ought to compose their looks, gesture, and voice; yet a light wandering of the eyes, and a hafty running through the prayers, are things highly unbecoming: they do very much lessen the majesty of the worship, and give our enemies advantage to call it dead and formal, when they see plainly, that he who offici. ates, is dead and formal in it. A deep sense of the things prayed for, a true recollection and attention of spirit, and a holy earnestness of soul, will give a composure to the looks, and a weight to the pronunciation, which will be tempered between affectation on the one hand, and levity on the other."

Before I attend you to the pulpit, and from thence, as I propose, to the chambers of the sick, permit me to offer a


few hints respecting the administration of the Sacraments, and the other public offices. If you are cast into a parish where the indecent practice of baptizing at home prevails, you

will do well, candidly and fully to represent your objections to your people, as well from the pulpit as in ordinary discourse, where you have an opportunity. After which, if they chuse to persist in the method, it will be better quietly and peaceably to acquiesce, than to make any obftinate resistance, which will produce no good effects, and will tend only to your uneasiness and disquietude. Whether you baptize in the church or at home, keep up by all means that awful serioufness, which our office is so well calculated to express: and in particular, address the sponsors, with the utmost solemnity, to give them a proper sense of the important duty which they undertake; and which alas! is in general so shamefully neglected! A bow or curtsey implies assent, it is true, as much as yes, or no; but I could wish, that in conformity to the office, you would always demand the answers from the sponsors, which are weighty, and which, perhaps, gravely delivered, may lead some of them to think. You will do well too, if possible, to throw in a word or two, where you can with propriety, upon this point; and to that end it might not be amiss to be provided with some little tract on this subject, to give away to your parishioners, whom I doubt not you will take care to advise of this duty, from the pulpit. Perhaps to a neglect of it, and to the absurd manner in which it is generally performed, much of the present neglect of religion may be assigned. A sponsor now is seldom considered in any other light than as a person who will make such and such presents! Scandalous abuse!

The anxiety fo observable in people to have their children baptized, and their solicitude, in cases of danger, to obtain this Sacrament for them, will give you many good opportunities to impress upon their minds the high obligations which this important facrament lays upon all Christians: and the baptismal vow will be a topic always proper and always forcible to urge with your people.

You cannot be too frequent or too earnest in recommending to your parishioners, a constant and regular attendance upon the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharif. It is the highest duty in which Christians can engage: and I know not, for

my part, how any of those who assume that venerable name, can imagine themselves excusable for their negieet of so positive and so necessary a duty. In the admi

niftering nistering of it, my dear Brother, your own sincerity and piety will lead you, I trust, to that demeanour, which is re. quisite for so folemn a service. Be careful to avoid the least inattention here; let your whole deportment fhew, that your heart is entirely engaged in the service. The office for the Communion is one of the finest compositions I am acquainted with: and it cannot fail to influence the minds of the hearers with proper affections, if it be repeated with that seriousness and attention which it so well deserves. Study it, and endeavour to aitune your soul to those feelings of contrition and joy, which it is so well calculated to raise ; and if your soul feels, certain it is, that your voice will express those feelings with due modulation. A certain tragedian excels all his cotemporaries in acting, because he excels them all in feeling.--Happy Christian minister, who so excels! For the feelings of a Christian may well be avowed !

Let the order and method of your Communion be settled with the utmost exactness, that there may be no confusion or interruption in the service: and endeavour to preserve through the whole, the greatest decency and seriousness, as well in yourself as in every thing around.

For the other parts of your function, make it a rule, my dear Brother, never to perform them carelessly: this will lead to bad habits. When you bury the body of the meaneft pauper, do not, as some are apt, huddle over the service 'with an unseemnly neglect; but consider yourself, as com. mitting to the dust, the body of a fellow creature, and as addresling the great God of all flesh. And I am sure there are some sentences in the Burial-service, which will bear the most frequent repeating; and from which a man may be the better every time he repeats

them. The case is this : Every eye can discern a perfunctory discharge of duty : such a discharge is odious in a clergyman, whose duties are all, serious. Remember this; and remember, that in all,---you are acting for God :-and then you will never do amiss.

I am ever, yours, &c.

J. G.





MAGAZINE, SIR, N common with your correspondent Clericus, pp. 174

179, of your last month's magazine, I consider your miscellany as a repository of every hint and observation that regards the honour and the comfort of the established clergy;" and permit me also to add, the prosperity and wellbeing of the established religion. Under this idea, I esteem it as an invaluable treasure to every sincere orthodox churchman, who has the honour of his master Jesus Chrift, and the purity of his religion, at heart. In this light it has been considered by me from its first commencement, and its claims to regard and consideration, appear to me to in. crease with time. I speak this, Mr. Editor, in the truth and simplicity of my heart, and I wish it were valued by all my brethren as much as it is by me.

Your correspondent, Clericus, hath in his letter made some very sensible observations on several late acts relating to the clergy, which have given me the more pleafure, because I perfe&tly agree with him in opinion; and had intended sending you something of the same kind myself, had not his letter in a great measure made it now unnecessary, However, a remark or two on the subject may not be altegether useless.

To take off any prejudice,' which the signature I intend on this occasion to assume may otherwise create, allow me to state that I am not only A Country Vicar, but a resident one also; and, still further, that I reside from the twofold confideration of duty, and the pleasure which I have in the performance of that duty; independent of any bias from the operation of penal statutes.

There are two things, Sir, which I have seen for a long time past in the conduct of the legislature respecting the established religion, with the deepest sorrow and regret: one is, the apparent design of our governors to depreciate the ministers of the established religion in the eyes of the public, by degrading and severe statutes; the other, that prinX X

ciple Chm. Mag. May 1808.


« AnteriorContinuar »