Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

would net be till the month os September. He tells me that he has the extreme pleasure of not having one person lost in his parifl*, nor dne family broke, by this dear and starving season; and all this has he been enabled to do by his Owi{ Sender means, and the additional bounty of about fifty pounds, which he got from others, when he had a large district to take care of, that was filled with a number of low and Very poor people; and he was forced to fend twenty or thirty miles for the oatmeal which he distributed among thttm."

It appears by a letter dated May 16, 1758, that Clayton, the Arian bishop, who endeavoured to set aside the Nicene and Athartasian Creeds, was a persecutor of Mr. Skelton for no other reason than this, that Skelton adhered like an honest man to the Articles which both he and his lordstiip had subscribed. The circumstance is curious" and it shews that with all their outcry against high-church rigour, and orthodox severity, these liberal-minded and rational Christians, as they call themselves, can be both oppressive and intolerant when they have the power.

"I am in great hopes" fays Mr. Loftus "that the death of the late bishop of Clogher, will be a real advantage to our friend Skelton. That gentleman grew to be a great enemy to him, for no other reason but because he was not of his principles, and occasioned much disturbance to him from the heads of his parishioners; but his successor Mr. Garnet, is of a quite different character; and as he has the general repute' of a worthy man, I make no doubt but he will re* move Skelton to a parish that will be fitter for the display of those extraordinary talents which God has blessed him with. Our friend is adored by the lower rank of his people, but those few of the better sort who have injured him, are therefore irreconcileable to him, and plague him as much as they can; which to a mind so sensible as his is, gives a great deal of vexation."

In his last letter, dated November 23, 1758, Mr. Loftus fays,

"All my pleasing expectations of meeting my friend Skelton in the country this last summer were disappointed. I need not say how much to my regret* There has been a long intimacy between us, ever since we were together in the college, and by a series of mutual good offices, it hirs grown into a settled friendship. I was detained so long in O town

Vet XIII, Churchm. Mag.for Auguji^oj.

town by various accidents, that when I went down his time was over, and he could not then come to me; we have not met for some years, and now he writes me word that he believes we shall never have a meeting in this world. I was in hopes to have sent you the good news that he was removed to a more pleasant and posit able situation, and one that was fitter for his great talents. His bishop has had a good parish vacant for some time, and I hoped that it was designed for him, but I have been mistaken. He has another scheme in his view, which I am very sorry for. The poor man's health is, I know, much injured by his low spirits. A continual application to study it impossible to man,and he has not a soul in his parish, or within ten of your miles, to converse with, and he will sooner die among his people than leave them to the care of another.

*' There is not I am persuaded, a better parish minister upon earth; and you will, I believe, think with me, that I can hardly give him a greater character."

Between Skelton and that extraordinary genius Henry Brooke, there long subsisted the closest friendship. Their souls were indeed perfectly congenial. On the death of Mr. Brooke, Skelton wrote the following epitaph:

Here lies a casket which of late rtsign'd
Three jewels brighter than the solar beam!

Such faith, such genius, and an heart so kind
As in no second breast are found by fame!

It is a pity that the Sermons, and the Deism Revealed, by this worthy man and vigorous writer, are not re-published.

I am 8tc.
IOTA.

OX ALTERATIONS IN THE LITURGY, &e.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's
MAGAZINE.
SIR,

rN Mr. Pearson's letter to the right hon. Mr. Percival, L lately published, there are certainly many things which highly merit the attention of every statesman. Yet there is one point, in which I must own I differ from him. Very sorry, however, I am to have even a difference of opinioir with one whom I so highly respect, and who is as much esteemed by those who well know him for his amiable character and worth as a man, as he is admired for his acuteness as a biblical scholar, and his soundness as a divine.

Mr. Pearson says (page 30) that "he is ready to admit it as the Rule of Nature and of Right, that the Established Religion of a Country should be that of the majority of its members."

This, as it refers to the increase os sectaries, appears to concede too far. It is not I conceive a mere numerical majority, which should ascertain the point, but a decided and superior weight of talents and influence of the party in question. The nature of our constitution does not allow that even the representatives of the people should be chosen by the whole number of the inhabitants of a county or borough, but only by the free-holders and freemen. The Methodists are at present, I believe, the most numerous body of Sectaries in this kingdom, but on account of their comparative ignorance and imbecility they would, if the present establishment should be removed, have I think less claim to supply its place, than some of the other sectaries who are greatly inferior in point of number.

I perfectly agree with Mr. P. that it might be very useful to permit the convocation to assemble for the purpose of authorising some improvement in the translation of the Bible, and to make some small alterations in our Church Offices. No one has a higher reverence for our excellent Liturgy than I have; but without the least intrenching upon her doctrines, the change or omission of a few words would certainly make it more perfect. In the prayer for the high court of parliament we fay "our most religious and gracious king" Now as the word "gracious" is used in the very same sentence in reference to the Deity, some other word might be chosen with better effect. And though the epithet "religious," I am happy to fay, applies with strict justice to our venerable sovereign, yet in the time of Charles IL it was not I fear strictly applicable; and it is possible, that at some future time, a sovereign may be upon the throne of Great-Britain, whom it might be improper to stile "most religious." If the sentence were thus altered, it would I apprehend be preferable.—"Most gracious God we humbly beseech thee as for this kingdom in general, so especially tor

the

tbe high coHrt of parliament under our Uwful king at this time assembled."

In tbe answer to tbe second question in the Catechism the word "inheritor" is often, at least by young people, understood, as referring to an inlieritance in possession, rather than to one in prospect, Tbe word "heir" would in my opinion better supply us place, or the meaning of tbe sentence more plainly expressed by a periphrasis.

In tbe latter part of tbe Catechism "verify and indeed, taken and received, &c." would I think be better expressed by "spiritually takenand received." Some other verbal air terations and omissions, if judiciously made, would improve our liturgy, but they can only with propriety be effected by tbe sanction of some power legally authorised.

I again repeat, that no one has a higher reverence for Qur excellent Liturgy than I have, but as our language has, in many instances changed since it was compiled, and no human composition is without some little imperfections, my wish ii o hav e it as perfect as possible.

I am, Mr. Editor,

Yours, &c.

BRITANNICUS.

FOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN S MAGAZINE.

An ESSAY On ZECHARIAH'S Prophecy Of The
Thirty Pieces or Silver, And The POTTER.

Zechariah, xi. 12, 13.

And I said unto them, If ye think good give me my price, and if not forbear: so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of Silver. And the Lord said unto me,Cafl it unto the Potter; a goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of Silver and cajl them to the Potter, in the House oj the Lord. ,

A LL Christians must, in reverence to St. Matthew, mainj£"\_ tain that this Prophecy was literally fulfilled in the affair of Judas selling Christ: and it is no wonder that

Infidels Infidels {hould as universally deny it to have such completion; since, if this Prophecy, to which some circumstances afford such plausible objections, be allowed to have had a literal accomplishment with reference to Christ, there is scarce one, usually alledged by Christians, which can consistently be denied. It is therefore of great importance to examine their objections to the bottom; especially as no Christian writer appears to have said all which truly and rationally may be said in defence of the application of the Prophecy.

The first objection which Infidels make is, that the whole account which Zechariah gives, is expressly said to be of a Vision; and therefore they contend, that little or no stress can be laid upon it, as to a real accomplishment in real things.

Secondly, that Zechariah asks of the people a reward for prophesying; and they give him thirty pieces of Silver: -*rhereas Judas bargained for thirty pieces of Silver to fell Christ; things, as they assert, totally different.

Thirdly, Zechariah rejects the thirty pieces of Silver, as too low a reward; whereas Judas returns them through remorse. >¥

Fourthly, Zechariah gives his to the Potter, an object of charity; whereas the priests pay them for the field called the Potter'sfield- Hence they conclude that the Evangelist quotes the Prophet for the fake of the words "thirty pieces of Silver," and "Potter," without any analogy of circumstances. How violent an attack is this! but we must try to repel it gradually on all sides.

First, as to Zechariah's discourse being a Vision; this is so far from proving that it cannot be a prophecy of some real event to be literally accomplished, that, in fact it proves the contrary. R«al events, in the History of the Prophets, may rest there, and be productive of nothing; but visionary ones have no propriety without reference to other and real things; and therefore in Prophets are most proper predictions of future real events.

Secondly, God himself expressly calls the thirty pieces of Silver given to Zechariah "myprice;" that is, "Ms ownprice;" and the thirty pieces given to Judas, are as justly called " the price of him who was valued: whom the Child, ren of Israel {the Priests, &c.) did value;'" as they were

tiven for his life, who was the Son of God, as well as the on of Man. God considers the service of the Prophet as his own; and the Prophet as representing him. And if, on this

aeccount

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »