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kept up in Ireland; the difference being perhaps traceable to there being parochial rates for the relief of the poor in England, but not, till lately, in Ireland. The re-introduction of weekly collections in England, is a novelty; and the collecting them after the sermon, with the reading* of the Offertory sentences, would be a novelty in Ireland; and to both cases, therefore, the Archbishop of Canterbury's oft-quoted prudent suggestion seems to apply; at least in the present unsettled and suspicious state of men's minds.
We always feel it irksome to consume time upon ritual questions, when the weighty matters of God's law demand our best energies; but the present course of events seems to make this a part of our duties; and even our Right Reverend Fathers cannot escape from this grievous, and we might say humiliating, burden. It is afflicting, while souls are perishing for lack of knowledge, and there is all the good land of God's word and promises to be possessed in its length and breadth, that so much time and thought are now-a-days consumed in discussions which bring neither food to the mind nor benefit to the heart. Yet as all things in the Christian church are required to be done "decently and in order;" if men will raise strifes about what is decent and orderly, the discussion cannot always be forgone. May God, in his wisdom and mercy, overrule it for higher purposes.
ARCHBISHOP BANCROFT ON CLERICAL COSTUME.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
In your Number for November, p. 643, there was a strange extract from some Tractarian writer, who ridicules what he calls the "Orthodox brethren" on account of their "comfortable livings,' snug private
fortunes," " exemplary dinners," " roomy chariots with fat wives, fat horses, and fat coachmen;" but especially because "the species delights in the rustle of silk gowns with huge pudding sleeves." I wonder not that the Tractarians are displeased at the "orthodox brethren," or, as one of their writers in the Times is pleased to call them, "the high-anddry clergy;" for Tillotsonians and Laudites never coalesced; and recent events at Oxford and elsewhere have not cast oil upon the troubled waters. But as for clerical foppery in costume, it is an old subject of complaint; and far from being a characteristic of the Anglican clergy of any class, in the present day, no body of men probably, in any age, have been less obnoxious to the charge. Such satirical censures are calculated to inflict unmerited obloquy upon the Anglican Church. I will transcribe a passage from a letter of Archbishop Bancroft's, written in 1610, which will shew what was the state of things in the reign of James the First.
"There have been many constitutions formerly made concerning the apparel of ministers, but never was their pride in that respect so great as now it is, from the Dean to every Curate; nothing being left that way to distinguish a Bishop from any of them. You shall find Deans usually either in their velvet damask, or satin cas
*We say "reading," not singing. Our Gregorian chanters, who, as the Bishop of London intimated, in his Charge, neither sing nor read, will do well to remember that the words in the Rubric of King Edward's first Prayerbook were, "In the mean time, while
the clerks do sing the Offertory, so many
socks, with their silk nether-stocks; nay some Archdeacons and inferior ministers, having two benefices, are likewise for the most part so attired; to omit that their wives, in the cost and vanity of their apparel, do exceed as much and more, which is one principal motive why there is such exclamation against double-beneficed men, and such as beside their two benefices have some other preferment 'sine cura.' What to move your Lordship in this behalf, I well know not, but as any so attired shall come before you, let him know particularly, and in my name, that they do greatly forget themselves in these so chargeable vanities, many of them having more care, to their own scorn, so to garnish themselves and their wives, than to furnish their studies with such books as might enable them the better to discharge their duties, as well for the confirmation of the truth, as for the refuting of all their opposites and adversaries. Assuredly if at our next session your Lordship, and so the rest of my brethren, shall not be able to inform me, that upon this my letter and admonition there is some hope, that these abuses will be redressed, I will be a humble suitor unto his Majesty, that some straight order, by his direction, may be taken in that behalf, for that this so chargeable vanity should not be still continued ; whilst many other men endure great want, it is very intolerable; seeing that by such their bravery in apparel, they do procure no manner of credit unto themselves, but rather upon my knowledge, great envy and heart-burning against their calling and estates. These and some other abuses being oft objected unto me, do oftentimes plunge me, as being always ready to cover and excuse our imperfections of the clergy; but I must be forced to leave them, if they will not be content to be advised by me."
Sumptuary laws are usually the most absurd and impotent of all enactments; and in the present age the dress of the clergy, both private and professional, is for the most part plain and decent; and as for walking the streets in cassocks, and visiting cottages in surplices, as the Tractarians propose, it would not tend either to godliness or decorum.
NO SILKEN RUSTLER.
REMINISCENCES OF A SERMON OF BISHOP JEBB'S.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I KNOW that you are pleased with short letters, and, therefore, I hope by my brevity to render my communication so far acceptable to you. I have lived long enough to remember the first announcement of the Christian Observer, and I shall never forget the delight with which its early Numbers were read by myself and friends. It has been a valuable guide to me through many a difficulty for forty years, and therefore you will not be surprised that I welcome its monthly appearance as the visit of an old friend. About thirty years ago your publication directed my attention to some Sermons published by Mr. Jebb, afterwards Bishop of Limerick; and more especially to an Appendix, in which great learning was displayed, and much labour employed, in an endeavour to establish the famous formula of Vincentius as our proper rule of faith. Now it has been interesting to me and I hope not without its use-on recently referring to the work, to find my pencil remarks still legible, and sufficiently numerous to enable me to call up the impressions made upon me by a most thoughtful consideration of the various arguments brought forward. With respect to the Sermons, I find written on the blank leaf of them this remark, "There is in this volume much Scriptural truth, but the medium through which it is presented to ordinary minds is too much rarified for a distinct vision of it." Now, Sir, I apprehend that some others as well as myself fancied we then saw far more Scriptural truth in them than we could now find, and that the experience of thirty years has taught us that even grievous errors may be concealed under ambiguous phraseology.
But my object in addressing you has respect rather to the Bishop's Appendix than to his Sermons. At the time referred to, from the habit of my mind, and probably my Cambridge training, I had a delight in grappling with a difficult question; and "dies noctesque" did I spend in my endeavours to master this. I have had no reason, on the whole, to regret this propensity, though I fear it may have occasionally caused some loss of time. One good effect has been, that I am far more patient under difficulties than I was formerly provided that they are the difficulties of Scripture, and not of man's creating. Those connected with a subject brought forward in Mr. Jebb's Appendix are of the latter description, as are also the greater part of those which have been revived in our Church in the present day; and though "non eadem est ætas, non mens," I cannot forbear indulging now and then my "ruling passion," by labouring hard to find the bottom of a subject, if it has one. I cannot say that I have entered fully into all the details of the controversy now pending, though I have read a good deal of what has been written on both sides of the question. My attention has been directed more particularly to some of the master principles at work; and I have thought much on that fundamental one of the whole system, the rule of faith put forth by Vincentius, and so ably, though unsuccessfully according to my judgment, advocated by Mr. Jebb.
But I promised to be brief, and therefore I will at once transcribe the remark which I made upon his Appendix nearly thirty years ago; only premising that the events of the last ten years have quite confirmed me in the opinion then given, and which I had never any reason to distrust before that time. "There is in this Appendix, and in all such systems of divinity, a strain of reasoning which, if not strictly circular, runs rambling round till it arrives at the same point." I have, Sir, the more confidence in making this statement as my present conviction, and in laying before the public, should you see fit, together with it, my version of this renowned Latin rule of faith, seeing that my conviction is, as I have intimated, confirmed, and that my version is the one sanctioned and acted upon by learned men at Oxford. We are to believe-" quod creditum est"-that which has been believed, and is believed-" ab omnibus" -by all who think as we do "semper"-at any time," ubique”— wherever we can meet with them. Your's affectionately, though
BIRD MANURE: ILLUSTRATION OF 2 KINGS VI. 25.
For the Christian Observer.
I HEAR of a wonderful modern discovery, that manure from birds is a powerful stimulant to land; and vessels are mysteriously sent out in ballast under sealed orders to fetch it from some far-away desert island; and the Prime Minister of the country is making experiments with it on his estates; and the scientific farmers sneer at lime, and bones, and stable-litter, and are buying up the wonder-working guano, the vendors of which, (if I may so call them, as the London milk-man called himself a milk-man, though he owned that he gained his living by selling, not milk, but water, his pump being his best milch-cow,) are making their fortunes by adulterating their precious commodity, much faster, I suspect, than their customers will by using it.
There is no doubt that bird refuse is a prolific manure; but then as
to this wonderful discovery of this our wonderful age, it is a fragment of ancient agricultural and horticultural knowledge; and is perhaps alluded to in the account of the famine in Samaria, described 2 Kings vi. 25, when "An ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver." Dr. A.
Clarke says on the passage, "Whether this means literally dove's dung, or a kind of pulse, has been variously disputed by learned men;" whose opinions, he adds, he had collected, but would not "trouble his reader to wade through," his own being that "a sort of pulse was meant." Dr. Shaw says it was "the cicer, or chick-pea." Josephus says that it was purchased to supply the place of salt; the long-continued want of which is a privation more severe than we who have that article in abundance can realise. Some critics suppose that it was the undigested corn in the crops of the doves, which were able to fly far off to collect grain; or the garbage of the birds when killed for food.
These conjectures have been devised in order to escape the literal meaning, on the ground that the refuse of birds is wholly unfit for food; but the very drift of the passage is, that the famished people were constrained to resort to what was not fit, and was most loathsome; and even this revolting substitute was not so horrible as that mentioned immediately afterwards-women devouring their own children.
But we need not resort to any but the literal meaning, if only we suppose this guano used for manure, not food. And to this agree the customs of the Orientals to the present hour. Chardin says that the Persians keep vast numbers of doves, more for the manure of the birds than for food; this species of manure being invaluable for their cucumber and melon beds. So also Thevenot says, that at Ispahan "They eat melons almost all the year round, and take much pains in cultivating them; for which they use a great deal of pigeon's dung, keeping pigeons only for that purpose; and that dung is sold by weight. Every time they open the earth about the roots, they fill it up with pigeon's dung, to give it new nourishment. They dig at the roots of the palm-trees, and fill the hole with pigeon's dung, whereof they have always provision in that country, because in the villages they purposely keep a great many tame pigeons; and I was told by the people, that if they took not that course with the palm trees, they would not bear good fruit." Morier says, that in the environs of Shiraz pigeon-houses are erected solely for the manure; and in a passage (quoted in the review of his travels in the Christian Observer for 1819), he adds that this is the dearest manure which the Persians use; that they apply it almost entirely for the rearing of melons; that the yearly revenue of a pigeon-house is worth a hundred tomauns; the succulent fruits raised by this manure being essential to the existence of the people during the heats of summer.
Animal manure was much employed in Judæa, so as to give rise to several proverbial expressions alluded to in the Old Testament; and the virtue of the manure of birds was probably as well known in Samaria as in Persia. The Jews kept vast numbers of pigeons; and Scott the Commentator remarks on Isaiah lx. 8, ("Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows?") "The church sees immense numbers from every quarter, thronging to her with one consent, as large flights of birds darken the air like a cloud, and as doves hasten to the windows of the dove house." This plentifulness of these birds must have rendered the cost of them trifling; which shews the leniency of the permitted substitution by the poor of doves and pigeons for more costly sacrifices.
CHRIST. OBSERV. APP.
It is against the above solution of 2 Kings vi. 25, that only food is mentioned in the context; but in describing scarcity, an article in common use, and coveted for the raising of food-and food which could be raised even in a city-might naturally be mentioned; and indeed the specification of the price, a cab for five pieces of silver," seems to indicate that it was an ordinary article of merchandise; for I take it that the point of the passage is not that the article was sold, but that it was sold at an exorbitant price. But after all, if this solution be not correct, there is nothing incredible in the narrative in the ordinary interpretation, any more than in soldiers eating their shoes, as they have sometimes done, in a besieged city. Only let us not pride ourselves upon our new discoveries, where we are merely following out the experience of ages.
ON NEWLY-DEVISED TESTS.
For the Christian Observer.
THE habit of referring in advertisements to this or that publication, as expressing the sentiments of the advertiser, has given offence; though perhaps more than was reasonable; as the reference in such cases is not for the purpose of setting up a test, but only for convenience, to indicate, in a form which will be understood by the parties concerned, what are the sentiments of the applicant. There are so many differences of opinion, that it would not be needlessly prying to ask a candidate for a curacy what are his general views regarding the Thirty-nine Articles; and if he said that he concurred, in his construction of them, with Tract 90, this would be an intelligible compendious statement, and might save much trouble to all parties.
But those who most cry out that an advertizing reference to a magazine, newspaper, or other publication, is setting up new tests in the Church, are ready enough to set up tests when it suits them; of which the following is a facetious illustration, taken from a Tractarian periodical publication of last month :
"Illustrations of Popular Religionism: A New Test.-A lady of the Established Church, of decidedly pious principles, in accordance with those advocated by the late Rev. Watts Wilkinson, is desirous of meeting with a lady who has moved in good society, of congenial mind and views, to join her in the expenses of lodging, &c., at the west-end of London. There are many privileges and opportunities of usefulness attendant on the faithful ministry of the word, &c. &c."
This is doubtless very horrible. "A new test!" and such a test! A lady wishes to obtain a female companion, not to read plays and novels to her, or to talk over Popish trumpery; but to converse with her upon the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and her soul's immortal welfare; of which she considers that the late venerable Mr. Wilkinson was a sound and edifying expositor. Be this as it may, she does not set up a test; she only expresses her own opinions and feelings. The advertisement seems, however, to have been drawn up for her, as she could not style herself "of decidedly pious principles.'
But upon turning over the page, there is upon the very same leaf a new Tractarian test, devised, and deliberately issued, by the very parties who a few lines before had been so much shocked with " popular religionism" and "a new test." For thus do they depone :