« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
by Wheatley, seems altogether incapable of being sustained.
The only remaining rubric to be considered in the morning prayer, is that after the suffrages, which follow the Lord's Prayer, in which the collects are ordered to be said "all kneeling" and this direction (from all the foregoing notices it would appear) must be understood to include the reader, especially as he had been standing just before. In the corresponding part of the evening prayer this direction is omitted. But as the two services bear an exact and uniform analogy to each other, that analogy must be held a sufficient reason for supplying it.
The next question to which I shall advert, relates to the words, "and oblations," in the prayer for the church militant before the communion.
This phrase is naturally connected in our minds with the sentences at the offertory, which prescribe a suitable maintenance for those who serve at the altar; and hence, as our clergy derive no emolument from the sacramental offerings, it is usual to omit the sentences which relate to that subject, and also the words, and oblations, in the prayer. This practice, however, proceeds on the presumption that the term, oblations, refers to the sacramental offerings; and that these offerings are intended by it to be consecrated to God, for the use, in part at least, of his ministers. In opposition to this construction of the word, it is contended that it actually refers to the bread and wine, which are placed on the table in order to be offered to God, and to be accepted by him for this sacred use in the eucharist. Of this meaning of the word, the prayer of oblation, which was introduced into the Scotch Prayer-book in 1637, is cited as a proof. It is added, that the first prayer-book of Edward the Sixth, mentions neither alms nor oblations, but provides for offering up the body and blood; that the Scotch Prayer-book mentions
only alms, but contains a prayer of oblation; and that the revised prayer-book of 1661, as we now have it, introduces the words, and oblations, but omits the prayer.
These are no doubt strong reasons for believing that the word, oblations, has in this passage a reference only to the bread and wine. Nevertheless there are not wanting considerations of an opposite tendency: for it has been observed, that in the unrevised prayer-book, the rubric before the prayer of oblation relates to two subjects; the poor man's box, and the due and accustomed "offerings" to the cu rate; from which phraseology it is natural to infer that the word, alms, was in the revision intended to supply the place of the poor man's box, and the word, oblations, that of the due and accustomed offerings to the curate.
Without undertaking to determine this question, it may be sufficient to remark, in conclusion, that whichever interpretation be adopted, the words may be properly retained. If by oblations be meant the bread and wine offered up to God, the expression of course ought not to be omitted. If, on the other hand, the pecuniary collection which always accompanies the administration of the Lord's supper be intended, even in that acceptation of the word, there may still be a propriety in reading it; for in most, if not in all, instances (I believe) the clerk and verger, or other inferior officiating minister, is held to be entitled to a share of it, and in some the price of the bread and wine is defrayed out of it, although no satisfactory reason can be assigned for this practice, except that offerings, made in the house and during the worship of God, are offerings to himself, and may fitly be laid out in his service. Hence it appears that the words, "and oblations," should be retained whenever there is a communion, although there is a propriety in omitting the sentences, which relate to the maintenance of the clergy.
I will only further advert to two points connected with the administration of the Lord's supper, as directed by our church.
One is, the omission of the greater part of the notice of a communion, which, however frequent, is wholly unauthorised and irregular.
The other relates to the practice becoming more and more necessary, of delivering the bread and wine to more than one communicant at each repetition of the blessing. The precedent afforded by many of our bishops, in the rite of confirmation, is strictly applicable; they being under an obligation, equally with the inferior clergy, to conform literally and exactly to all the directions in our prayer-book. But, in fact, the language of the rubric is not so rigorous upon this subject as is generally supposed. It only commands the minister, when he delivers the bread or the cup to any one, to use the form which there follows, but does not say that he must repeat it severally to each. The direction would therefore be sufficiently complied with, if, immediately on delivering the sacred symbols to as many persons as the circumstances of the congregation may seem to require, the minister should read the appointed words exactly as they are
written. They should be read in the singular number, that each individual may apply them to himself; and, in proportion to his faith, receive the whole comfort of them; which is the precise course observed by the high priest in the Jewish service, who is directed to address the whole congregation in the singular number, with probably the same intention. (Num. vi. 23-26.) Where the congregation is small, the usual practice would naturally, as it should in propriety, be retained; but in large communions, where constant repetition would be too protracted, monotonous, and unedifying, it would seem desirable to leave the minor arrangements to private discretion, only adhering to the strict letter of the rule, and to the exact language of the prescribed form.
As uniformity of practice is desirable, where the rule is uniform, I trust you will not think the time of your readers ill employed in attending to the foregoing remarks, which I will close with a prayer, that all who habitually employ these hallowed formularies may also, in the language of our invaluable Liturgy, "hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life."
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. TOWARDS the close of your Review of Mr. Trew's "Appeal," in the Number for November, you state (p. 690), "Casting our eyes again over Mr. Trew's pamphlet, we find we have omitted to notice a passage which we had marked for observation, but which is too important to be omitted. It is that (p. 9.) where Mr. Trew expresses himself discouragingly of any good to be effected by the religious instruction
of the African part of the slave population; a sentiment which, if it argue any thing beyond the operation of that prejudice which prevails around him, would seem to indicate, that a very extraordinary degree of intellectual and moral debasement had followed their subjection to West-Indian bondage."
Now, sir, I conceive, that this observation is not warranted by the passage in Mr. Trew's pamphlet to which it refers. Mr. Trew there says;
"No one who has witnessed the mental imbecility so often apparent in the aged African, or the tardy development of his faculties to the reception of Divine truth, would be bold enough to recommend, as practicable, his instruction by means of letters. Exceptions, it is true, will be sometimes found to this rule, but they are rarely to be met with." When Mr. Trew penned the above passage, he had, I doubt not, in recollection sufficient proof of all which he has stated; and with which, I will venture to assert, every pious missionary in the West Indies will fully concur. For I would ask, is there no difference between instructing men advanced to upwards of fifty years, and those just advanced to manhood? Can they who have been "accustomed to do evil," for fifty or more years, "learn to do well" with the same facility, as they who have not advanced to half that age in iniquity? Of the number of those who are brought to the knowledge of the truth in England, how many are brought to that saving knowledge when they have passed the age of fifty? And if the number be small in this highly favoured land, can we expect, in ordinary circumstances, more success or even as much among the aged Africans?
Not that the tardy development of their faculties to the reception of Divine truth, should cause the minister of Jesus Christ to remit bis diligence. He ought, as you suggest, to hope even against hope; and no one acquainted with the respected author of the "Appeal"-his unabating zeal-his patient and unwearied labours, to instruct and to convert the aged African, as well as others, will suppose that he despairs of making a saving impression upon bis dull understanding, and of fixing his earthly affections upon God and Christ and heaven.
But the main point of the passage in question, turns upon the instruction of the aged African by means of letters; or, in other words, teach
ing him to read. This, Mr. Trew thinks, in the majority of cases, is impracticable; though he admits, that "exceptions will be sometimes found to this rule." And surely if we reflect seriously upon this statement, we must admit its correctness. I have been highly delighted by the account given by Mr. Ellis respecting the proficiency, which many of the aged Sandwich Islanders had made in reading and writing; but I must ever look upon the mighty events which have transpired there, and among the other islands of the South Sea, as extraordinary and we must remember that those old men, if you will allow me the phrase, had wind and tide in their favour; whereas, it is not so as yet with the aged Africans.
The authorities which you have cited, therefore, against the passage in the Appeal, from Mr. Bickersteth down to Sir George Collier, carry no conviction to my mind. In fact, they do not bear upon the main point at issue. They shew, indeed, what I am sorry to observe, is not fully admitted by all men; namely, that Africans possessing the same advantages as Europeans, are as capable as they of being Christianised and civilised; and this the author of the Appeal would be the last man to question.
Referring again to the Review (p. 682), I find this passage: "Even Mr. Trew does not venture to hint a hope, that the money will be applied in any such way as we should consider to be education in this country."
This leads me to ask, What is considered to be education in this country? Is teaching boys and girls to read the Bible on the Lord's day? If so, then Mr. Trew has more than hinted, that this kind of education will be given in his Sunday school. (see pp.12, 15.) And if in your estimation he has not been sufficiently explicit on this head, it was doubtless wholly unintentional. By the last advices, there were 447 children (slaves) learning to read in
the schools established in Mr. Trew's parish, besides about 1700 slaves of various ages receiving oral instruction in the main truths of Christianity, at the times allowed for that purpose on the estates during the week.
That there are still impediments in the way of Negro education, there can be no doubt: the most important of which is the prostitution of the Lord's day. But let all who wish well to the Negroes, encourage one another in supporting those efforts which are practicable, and pray, and hope, and labour, to bring in a better state of things. And thus, whatever be our opinions as to the details of Mr. Trew's plan, or of the sentiments conveyed in his Appeal, we may join in his concluding sentence, and never cease our endeavours until, through every corner of the land, and throughout the colonies, "the religious instruction of the Negro Slaves be made to appear to every Christian a duty of the most solemn obligation."-I am, sir, yours, &c.
**We are by no means disposed to diminish the effect of our correspondent's apologetical explanation of the passage in Mr. Trew's pamphlet, which called forth the remarks in our Review to which he objects. There can be no doubt that the evil habits of adults may be more inveterate than those of children: but we suspect, that, with respect to the incapacity of the adult slaves of Jamaica to acquire a knowledge of letters, it is a point which is referable far more to their want of time, than to their want of aptitude for instruction. If, even on the Golden Grove estate, the children are so occupied as to leave no time for any thing beyond oral instruction on a Sunday, what chance is there that the adults should be allowed leisure for such a purpose as that of learning to read? We believe that, if the Jamaica islanders had the same command of their
time with the Sandwich islanders, we should see renewed in the former the same effects which our correspondent regards as almost miraculous in the latter. We are happy to find, that even 447 children of slaves, in a population of nearly 26,000, are learning to read; and we shall rejoice still more, if the prevailing prejudices on this subject should interpose no obstacle to Mr. Trew's benevolent efforts in the parish of St. Thomas in the East, and should not prevent the influence of his praiseworthy example, from extending to all the other parishes of the island. We have already expressed our high sense of the value of his zealous and conscientious labours.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
ALLOW me to call the attention of your readers for a moment, to the inconveniences likely to arise from the numerous emendations, which are continually made to the orthography of our proper names. This fashion was set by those learned men who first found out that Mahomet was an incorrect way of spelling the name of the false prophet of Mecca: the consequence of which discovery is, that his name and religion have perplexed all our pretenders to good spelling ever since. But now, all our missionaries are turned new-modellers of names, and we can no longer recognise our old acquaintances, the Cingalese, or our friends in Otaheite and Owhyhee, under the disguise, which they wear; as Singhalese, Boodhists, and natives of Tahiti and Hawaii. It appears to me, however, that this improvement, if it be one, has not yet gone far enough, but that we ought, in consistency, to reform all the names in the Old Testament, to recast the appellations of the oriental sovereigns, whom we have hitherto been blindly contented to call Artaxerxes and Darius; and to change the Latin names of Ulysses,
Achilles, Ajax, and others for the Greek ones from which they are borrowed. I confess, that it appears to me hardly worth while to take so much pains for so trifling an object. The thing most to be desired in a proper name is, not so much that it be accurately deduced, as that it be fixed and uniform; and that (I think) would best be secured by adhering to the inventions of our first discoverers and navigators. Let them have the honour of fixing the names which they introduce; for even a certain error is preferable to uncertain correction.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I AM desirous of learning the opinion of your readers upon the following point of ecclesiastical law. The town of Liverpool is one parish; and, in consequence of its increasing population, from time to time new churches have been built. The acts of parliament authorising such buildings were, thirty years ago, very loosely drawn up, and many inconveniences and defects are already felt in the older chapels, from the want of reasonable and necessary powers. This is particularly the case with St. Ann's. The roof is in want of repairs, and there are no funds except voluntary contributions from the pew owners; and, what has increased the difficulty, the bishop has ordered sundry internal decorations, which will equal the expense of repairing the roof. In consequence of a noncompliance with the verbal communications of the bishop, a fiat has been issued from the Ecclesiastical Court; and the church is in consequence closed, to the great discomfort of many families.
Without impugning the conduct of his lordship, whose diligence and zeal excite our warmest acknowledgments, it is still thought that a bishop has no power to intermingle an order for necessary repairs with CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 301.
ornamental painting: and, as there seems no chance of repairing what is required from any other source than the pew owners (the freehold and presentation are vested in the corporation, who refuse assistance), it has been thought, that it ought to be reduced as low as possible, especially as the pew owners not generally occupants, and many of them are also poor. As many other churches in different parts of the kingdom may be similarly circumstanced, it may be useful to many other of your readers, lay and clerical, as well as to the writer of these lines, if some of your correspondents, learned in such matters, will afford an answer to the following query:
Has a bishop power to order any repairs, except those necessary to prevent dilapidation?
Tothe Editor ofthe Christian Observer,
"It is a much easier thing to find fault with a sermon, than to write a better," said an old father of a family to his children, who were descanting upon the afternoon homily which they had just heard in their parish church. "It is an easy thing to criticize the style, the voice, and the manner of the preacher; but, in my opinion, the sermon was solid, though very plain; and well suited, as I think, to the generality of our village flock. I heartily wish that either of you, my sons, should you go to the university, and afterwards proceed to take Holy Orders, may preach the same great truths which we have heard to-day; and, if called to minister before congregations possessed of higher intellect, may not forget, in the polish of your style, the weighty matters of the Gospel."
When this little dialogue took place, I was a visitor, for a few days, at my friend's country-house, and could not but be struck very forcibly E