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may rest in him, (Christ,) as our hope is, this our brother doth." And why we may not conscientiously adopt this language in the exercise of that charity which “ hopeth all things," I cannot perceive. The expression is modest and diffident. It is not « an unequivocal declaration of the truly Christian state of every one who departs this life,” (the words used by the objector,) but a mere charitable profession of our hopes respecting the deceased; and these we need not scruple to express, except in cases which are absolutely hopeless, and of which neither the meekness nor the charity of Christianity will lead us to form a different estimate. But such cases must be very rare. A clergyman cannot positively decide that such a one has actually died in his sin beyond the possibility of pardon, and the most he is required to express respecting any, is a hope of his pardon."*
Our offices, it may be further observed, were intended to go hand in hand with such an administration of discipline, as would preclude the possibility of the occurrence of very hopeless cases. Were the inconvenience, therefore, greater than it is, it would be no valid objection against the Church of England, nor could it violate any man's conscience to consent to such a form of words, though in very extraordinary cases he may feel some reluctance to make use of it.
Such a case, however, may never occur to a minister through the whole of a long and active life; and by the bare presumption of its occurrence, surely no pious man, who wishes to enter into the Church of England, would be prevented from prosecuting his purpose.
Though the sad relaxation of discipline is much to be lamented amongst us, yet during near twenty years experience, I do not recollect to have felt any painful hesitation in reading the office in question but once or twice, when reading it over persons to whom I have been compelled by the warrant of a coronert to give Christian burial. On these occasions I presumed on the tacit allowance of my own diocesan, too distant to be consulted in proper time, and too good, I was assured, to wish to restrain me in so moderate and reasonable an exercise of discretion, for omitting the whole of the last prayer in the burial service. This is an omission not authorized indeed by the Rubrick, but which I doubt not would be readily allowed in extraordinary cases to any conscientious minister consulting his diocesan. Sincerely wishing your correspondent's
• I make no comment on the indiscriminate use of the term “The soul of our dear brother and sister;" as the expression evidently intends no more than that relation in which we all stand to each other. “Who then is our brother?" and ho is my neighbour?” are questions which admit of the same solution..
* Mr. Wheatly is of opinion that a coroner's warrant does not compel. He plessis also for some diseretion in the use of the prayer here considered; and the whole o what he has said on burial service will be worthy the perusal of the gentleman whose doubts have occasioned this letter.
friend to be delivered from his scruples, and admitted a member of the Church, I remain, with much esteem for your valuable publication, &c. &c.
FROM THE SAME
TO THE EDITOR.
IN the British Critick for December, 1801, there is a Review of Mr. Greatheed's Sermon, occasioned by the death of Mr. Cowper, the celebrated poet; on a passage of which I wish to make a few remarks, through the medium of your instructive Miscellany. The passage is as follows: “ We have read with earnest attention these interesting and affecting memorials of a man most eminently distinguished for abilities; and we cannot but consider the discourse, and the facts it relates, as an awful warning against the orrours of Methodism. Cowper, of an anxious and melancholy disposition, after shrinking from publick business, and being overwhelmed with a morbid desperation in consequence of that step, fell under the tuition of an eminent Methodistical divine. From the progress and nature of his sufferings, it appears almost demonstrably certain, that they arose principally, if not entirely, from this cause. His active imagination, too attentive in some respects to its own movements, exaggerated both his religious comforts and his religious fears; and both were regarded according to the doctrines he had unfortunately imbibed, as actual intimations from heaven. Of consequence, when his constitutional infirmity inclined him to melancholy, it became a religious melancholy of the blackest and most oppressive kind, and thirty years of an innocent and very pious life, were passed under the horrours of habituate desperation. Had he conversed at first with a divine more able to give him sound instruction in the Gospel, all this misery would, most probably, have been avoided; and the violent derangement of his mind, which occasionally recurred, would never have happened.”
It is here acknowledged by the conductors of this respectable work, that Mr. Cowper was “ of an anxious and melancholy dis.. position; that he had shrunk from publick business, and was overwhelmed with a morbid desperation in consequence of that step, previous to his falling under the tuition of an eminent Methodisticul divine." But if this were the fact, as it certainly was; it appears somewhat extraordinary, that in the very next sentence the Reviewer should assert, That from the progress and nature of his sufferings, it appears almost demonstrably certain, that they arose principally, if not entirely from this cause, viz. his having fallen under the tuition of an eminent Methodistical divine.
It is further stated by the Reviewer, that the black and oppres. şive melancholy, under which Mr. Cowper laboured, would pro
bably have been avoided, and the violent derangetrent of his mind would never have happened, had he conversed at first with a divine more able to give him sound instruction in the Gospel, But this is surely a very gratuitous assumption.
I am not in the smallest degree concerned, Mr. Editor, to vindicate the Divine in question from the accusation of Methodism; My object is merely to point out what appears to be the real state of the case, and to guard the publick against being led to imagine, that those animating and scriptural views of Christianity which are exhibited in Mr. Cowper's works, were, in any measure, the cause of his unhappy disorder. If we attend to facts more than to mere assertions, we shall find, that so far is it from being almost demonstrably certain that Mr. Cowper's sufferings were the ef. fect of his particular views of religion, that it will admit of very satisfactory proof, that to those views, however acquired, he owed a considerable alleviation of his malady. His religious opinions may have given to his melancholy a new direction; but at no subsequent period of his life did it wear so black an aspect, nor produce such a degree of morbid desperation, as previous to that change of sentiments from which the Reviewer deduces its increased malignity. The extremity of his mental suffering before that time, had thrice led him to make an attempt upon his life, The fact remains recorded in his own hand-writing: but it does not appear that he was ever afterwards driven to a similar act of desperation. On the contrary, he seems to have derived from the soothing influence of his religious belief, the only lucid interval, (an interval of very considerable duration, the only happy and peaceful hours he enjoyed, subsequent to his first severe attack,
Had Mr. Cowper manifested no symptom of mental derangement previous to his embracing those religious views which the Reviewer considers as Methodistical, still it would not have been almost demonstrably certain that he owed his malady to those views. This, however, is so far from being the case, that it is demonstrably certain that his malady had an earlier origin; and it is probable that it was interwoven with the constitution he brought with him into the world, although it may have received a tinge from the prevailing sentiments of his mind.
The British Critick, in saying that Mr. Cowper's views were Methodistical, pays, we apprehend, a higher compliment to Me thodism than he intended, and which, if just, would doubtless tend to raise it in the estimation of those persons of judgment, taste, and piety, who see in Mr. Cowper's writings sound and scriptura] Christianity ably and faithfully delineared.
IN the times of the apostles, the vast extent of the Roman empire facilitated greatly the propagation of the Gospel. Not only various provinces of Europe and Asia were visited by the apostles, but also several of the islands scattered about in the Me. diterranean sea. Among the rest, the large and populous island of Crete, now called Candig, was not neglected. There were Cretes as well as Arabians at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost was poured largely on the disciples of Jesus. (Acts ii. 11.) These men returned, and reported in their native country, the things which they had heard and seen. St. Paul visited the island in company with Titus, at an early period of his ministry, before he was made a prisoner; and he left Titus among the island. ers, to water the Church which he had planted. “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appoint. ed thee." (Tit. i. 5.) We derive much information from various incidental hints which are given in different parts of the New Testament. Here, for instance, is a fair specimen of the order of the primitive Church, left us by an inspired writer.
The island of Crete is celebrated by the ancient classical authors, for containing a hundred cities.* Titus had the government of Christian assemblies throughout the district, as St. Paul « had appointed him.” He was to set in order the things that were wanting in every city. And he was to ordain elders or presbyters for the whole island. Individual Christian societies in Crete seem to have claimed no right to set in order their own affairs, independently of Titus; nor were the neighbouring pastors called in by the different congregations, to ordain such as they had chosen, Whatever assistance Titus might require from other pastors, the whole management of their affairs seems to have been committed to him alone. It avails nothing to say, that Titus is never called exclusively the bishop of the island, or that he was an evangelist, and an assistant to the apostle. The word bishop signifies nothing more than an overseer. Common ministers were overseers of the tlock, and Titus was their overseer. He is no where called an evangelist in the New Testament. But it is not the name or the title, but the office, which is under consideration. Were Titus, to rise from the dead, and visit the Church militant again, we' could find an office in the English Church, which, when stript of those appendages which a change of times and circumstances has introduced, would be very similar to that which he sustained in the island of Crete. His ancient diocese was as large as some
Called Kentny EXATOUTcas. Hom. II. ji. 649. Centum urbes habitant magons Virg. Æn. iü. 106. Vid. Hor, ü. Ode xxyii. 33. Epod, ix. 29.
modern dioceses in England; and had the writer of this paper lived under the government of Titus, in primitive times, he would probably have found himself in a situation not much different from that which he now fills, as an English clergyman, under his proper diocesan. He must then have been subject to the authority of his bishop, in spiritual matters, and he therefore submits with pleasure to a mild ecclesiastical authority in his own country.
These reflections are made without the least intention to offend persons of any denomination or profession; but we certainly have a pleasure in being able to derive from the word of God a sanction for our own system.
BISHOP WARBURTON'S OPINION OF TILLOTSON'S, TAYLOR'S,
AND BARROW'S SERMONS. “ AS a preacher, I suppose Tillotson's established fame is chiefly owing to his being the first city-divine who talked rationally, and wrote purely. I think the sermons published in his lifetime, are fine moral discourses. They bear, indeed, the character of their author; simple, elegant, candid, clear, and rational; no orator, in the Greek and Roman sense of the word, like Taylor; nor a discourser, in their sense, like Barrow: free from their ir. regularities, but not able to reach their heights. On which account, I prefer them infinitely to him. You cannot sleep with Taylor; you cannot forbear thinking with Barrow; but you may be much at your ease in the midst of a long lecture from Tillotson; clear, and rational, and equable as he is. Perhaps the last quality may account for it.”
át another time he expresses his sentiments of Bishop Taylor and Dr. Barrow, in the following manner. « Taylor and Barrow were incomparably the greatest preachers and divines of their age. But my predilection is for Taylor. He has all the abundance and solidity of the other, with a ray of lightning of his own, which, if he did not derive it from Demosthenes and Tully, has at least as generous and noble an original. It is true, they are both incompti, or rather exuberant: but it is for little writers to hide their barrenness by the finicalness of culture.”-Letters to Bp. Hurd.
A NOBLE SENTIMENT. This same learned prelate, speaking of Dr. Conyers Middleton, who wrote the Life of Cicero, and was an amiable man, and elegant scholar, but tinctured unfortunately with latitudinarian principles of a very dangerous tendency, expresses himself in a manner equally honourable to his head and his heart. “I hear Dr. Middleton has been lately at London, and is returned in an extremely bad condition. The scribblers against him will say, they have killed him: but, from what Mr. Yorke told me, his brick