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SIR,-Excepting the completion of Coverdale's Bible, abroad, the year 1535, the centenary of which we have been invited to celebrate, has not much to recommend it to the memory of the church of Eng. land. It was the year which saw the first public execution take place on account of the Reformation ;-the venerable Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and the learned and amiable Sir Thomas More, having been beheaded in this year by Henry VIII., who thus furnished an example and plea for all the cruel butchery with which the papists retaliated in Queen Mary's reign. It was the year which saw the first lay commission appointed to harass and oppose the church and the Universities, which last were, in this year, compelled to surrender their charters to the commissioners. It was the year which saw one of the lay courtiers (Cromwell) appointed vicar-general and vicegerent over the whole church, with power to summon the bishops and metropolitans. It was the year which witnessed a Christian king of England forbid the bishops of Christ's church the exercise of their spiritual authorities, the inhibition forbidding the bishops and metropolitans to hold visitations having been issued in this year. Lastly, it was the year which saw the commencement of the authorized spoliation of the property which had been dedicated to the service of Almighty God.
When the year which we have been invited to celebrate is fraught with such recollections, and the year in which we are invited to celebrate it finds us either suffering or dreading a repetition of all these evils, is it great matter of surprise that some among us should have felt more disposed to “ hang up our harps by the waters of Babylon,” than to “sing the Lord's song” of rejoicing“ in a strange land ?"
These considerations afford no reason for our pulpits being silent as to the fact of the completion of Miles Coverdale's important labours in this year; but they may serve to account why those who entertained them did not celebrate a jubilee which seemed to them at variance with the feelings which either the aspect or retrospect of events connected with the year was calculated to excite.
ON ARGUING WITH THE CHURCH OF ROME. SIR,—It is exceedingly necessary, at the present time of excitement, that those who engage on the English side of the controversy with Rome, (especially the younger portion of them,) should not be provoked, by the evil practices or furious malice of our opponents, to urge objections against them beyond the sure warrant of truth ;-necessary, to the highest degree (for the temptation is great), that they should carry before them this consideration,--that every departure from Rome is not necessarily an approach to Christ. Fearful as the evil is, to build up, upon the one foundation, the wood, hay, and stubble meet for the fire, which the church of Rome has done, there may
be worse evil than this,-even to reject the foundation itself, as the Ra
tionalists and Socinians have done, and some others who boast of their protestantism seem in the fair way to do. Under the negative appellation of protestantism, men are broaching errors as destructive of sound Christianity as any which the Romans have devized. Some, in their ill-informed zeal, set light by the holy sacraments, as means of grace and salvation, because the church of Rome has attached a great weight to them. Little do these reckless writers consider, that if they deny the “ Spirit's" operation by the (baptismal) “ water" and the (Eucharistic) blood," they are setting aside the value of God's chosen and appointed “ witnesses upon earth,” and tending too surely to the eventual denial of Him to whom they “ bear witness.” (1 John, v. 8.) Rationalism, or Socinianism, is the too certain terminations of those systems of religion which begin by setting aside the value of God's own appointed ordinances. Others, again, cry out, like the dissenters, for the right of private judgment, without explanation and without limitation. If they merely mean by this that every man is answerable to Almighty God for the interpretation he may put upon the passages of holy writ, no doubt it is true. But if they mean, as the obvious impression is, that God has left all men to form, each man for himself, a system of religion, from the bare letter of the Bible, and has not furnished him with guides and assistances to coming to a right understanding of the scriptures, to which guidance and assistance he is ordinarily bound to pay deference, and which he cannot ordinarily neglect without presumption and tempting God, and running himself in danger of error,-then, all I can say is, that such a notion is as contrary to the scriptures themselves as it is to the voice of the whole church of Christ since its foundation, and to the decision of the English branch of that church, as expressed in her Articles and Canons, and in the Homilies, which are sanctioned by the Articles.
Sir,—Sir Henry Spelman, in his “ Tract de Sepultura,” says, that these fees had their commencement after the beginning of the sixteenth century; but, from some entries in an old parish register in a northern county, I doubt the correctness of this assertion of that learned writer. The point is interesting in an historical point of view. Can any of your readers throw light upon it? Information derived from parish registers would be valuable, and perhaps you would allow it a place in your pages. In the register I have inspected, the fee was twopence, in 1590, but seems to have been frequently remitted; as, “ Ann Simpson, a poor bastard, 00.” Sometimes, « ii & lar. vi."
Your obedient servant,
N, C. T.*
The Editor would be much indebted to any Correspondent, who can throw light on this subject, to do so. VOL. VIII.--Nov. 1835.
HOSEA, v. 7. SIR,—In consequence of your correspondent asking for a literal translation from the original of Hosea, v. 7, I turned to it in the Hebrew, without any intention of sending you the result of my inquiry, leaving the answer to some abler hand. In my search, however, I have taken up an idea so in accordance with the Hebrew and the context, and, as it appears to me, so calculated to remove the acknowledged difficulty of the passage, that I send it to you. In the first place, that your correspondent's substituting the word moth for month is untenable appears from the Hebrew word Un never having such a meaning; and, more than this, at verse 12, in the same chapter, we have the word moth, and the Hebrew word for it is wy. The Septuagint version, which gives us the word epvoisin, is also totally at variance with the Hebrew. Now, with does signify month, and all the commentators I have examined seem satisfied with this sense, and reason upon it thus:-One says, by month is meant no more than a short time; but if this were the case, why not have used the expression moment, or vapour, or any other, which would at once have shewn you that the literal meaning was not to be taken ? Another refers you to the parallel passage, as it is called, at Zach. xi. 8. The word month certainly does there occur, and I expected to find the same Hebrew word ; and, more than this, as one month is spoken of, I looked for the solitary word used by HỌsea to denote this one month, and thus set the matter at rest; but what did I find ? Why, the two Hebrew words mix, signifying unus; and on, signifying luna, or mensis, so that we have stronger grounds than ever for saying that if one month was meant by Hosea, it would not have been expressed by a single word, nor by that word, in all probability, which we find him using. Another commentator suggests that the word month, by metonymia, may signify month after month, and so be like tempus edax rerum. Now all this seemed to me very unsatisfactory, and I therefore resolved to look into the original narrowly, in the hope I might discover the true meaning, and the result has been this :-u1n, in its primary sense, signifies innovavit, renovavit, and is constantly joined to a substantive, with the signification of new; as, for instance, in Psalm xxxii. 3, when the Psalmist speaks of singing a new song; and in a vast number of other places. Hence it comes to signify novilunium, or the day of the new moon; as, for instance, in the first book of Samuel, xx. v, where it is said, “ to-morrow is the new moon," we find this word, and in many other places; and what is especially to be remarked in Hosea, ii. 11, where mention is made of the new moons as those feasts which the Lord would cause to cease, this very word is used to denote these new moons. Thus was I given a strong suspicion that the word rendered month should have been rendered the duy of the new moon. I then examined the word 52x, and when,
* W. G. C.'s letter is received, with many thanks; but, as two answers have appeared, perhaps he will not wish it printed ?—Ed.
in Buxtorf, I found a second sense given to this word, of divulgare, proclamare, it seemed to agree so well with the blowing the cornet and trumpet, and crying aloud, mentioned in the verse following, that I was much disposed to take this sense rather than the primary one of devour, eat, or consume; but, upon a full examination, I cannot find the word used in this second sense any where but in Daniel, and there, from its being joined with accusations, there is in an accusation so much of biting and devouring, that I am far from sure that the first sense of the word is not retained even by Daniel ; and, more than this, the sense of publishing, if it has such a meaning, is allowed to be a Chaldaic idiom, and therefore not likely to be used by Hosea, who wrote before the captivity. In Hosea, also, this same word is used to signify devour, at xi. 6, and xiii. 8; so that the meaning of this word, as rendered in our version, seems correct. I next looked to the words rendered “ with their portions," and as the word “ with” has nothing to do with the original, and portions might, with eqnal accuracy, be rendered parts, I seem to prefer“ in all parts of their country.” The passage, then, if I am correct in my view of it, will run thus :-“ The coming day of the new moon” (when their idolatrous worship, be it remembered, was especially practised) “ shall usher in their destruction in all parts of their country;" and then how appropriately does it follow, « Blow ye the cornet," &c.; ending with the judgment to be inflicted, “ Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke : among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.” That Ephraim's sin was idolatry, we learn from Hosea, iv. 17, where it is said, “Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him alone.” But, as it would seem, he was only to be let alone that his punishment might be more signal at the coming new moon, when, expecting to revel in idolatrous feasts, destruction was about to befal him.
May I be permitted, in conclusion, to suggest to your correspondent that, as he appears, like myself, to delight much in getting at the true meaning of the sacred writers, it might be advisable for him to study Hebrew. As an encouragement for him to do so, I must inform him that, at the age of thirty-five I knew not a word of the language, but, being advised by a friend to set about the task, I did so heartily, and have derived great satisfaction from my self-taught knowledge.
I am, Sir, yours most gratefully, D.
REPLY TO THE INQUIRY RESPECTING HOSEA, V, 7, IN THE
NUMBER FOR SEPTEMBER. « Witu Jehovah they have acted unfaithfully, for they have brought forth strange children; therefore a new moon shall consume them, with their inheritance."
In the short space of one month—from one new moon or solemn feast-day to the next—they, and all their possessions, should be utterly destroyed.
The subject may receive illustration by reference to Zech. ii. 8; Isa. i. 13.
SIR,—What does the church hold respecting confirmation ? I think it can hardly be questioned that she has ever regarded it as an apostolic rite, employed by her first rulers, under immediate inspiration from above, as one special mean and instrument of communicating to the faithful the gift of the Holy Spirit. That we have, consequently, just reason to expect in the use of it a blessing different from that which would attend any becoming ceremony whereby our youth might renew their vows, and dedicate themselves to the service of God. In short, that although miraculous power no longer exhibit to the bodily eye the agency of the Holy Spirit, yet, in all other respects, the blessing communicated by the prayer and imposition of the hands of the successors of the apostles is in no way different from that which was imparted by the hands of Peter and John. Such, unquestionably, was the universal judgment of the church for more than 1500 years, and such is the doctrine embodied in the formularies of the church of England.
But if this be so, how has this important truth escaped from before men's eyes, and where is it hid? How comes confirmation to be presented to our flocks rather as a duty than a privilege-a duty, be it remembered, consisting only in the public recognition of obligations, which, even if repudiated, cannot be shaken off—instead of a privilege whereby they may be enrolled to discharge those obligations? How far this is a fair representation of the actual teaching of the existing generation of clergy, each must, of course, judge for himself; but there are circumstances to which I would call your attention, and which, I think, prove that such has until very lately been the case. I have endeavoured, to the best of my power, to find a tract fit to be put into the hands of candidates for confirmation, and explaining to them what I consider as its true nature. But I can find none. All those on the list of the Christian Knowledge Society represent confirmation merely as an opportunity of publicly taking on ourselves the vows formerly made in our name; a view which, though true, is but a miserable fragment of the whole truth. I am well aware, indeed, that it is the spirit of the age in which we live to make little of ordinances, and to teach men to rely on their individual attainments as the medium of communication between themselves and their God. Thus, while we condemn the hermits of former days in separating themselves from their brethren, we are doing the same thing, as far as relates to matters spiritual, and seeking spirituality by striving to become beings solitary and unconnected with all who have gone before, or that now live, or are to follow. But how is the church to take cognizance of the spirit of the age ? Not by lending to it any aid, but by a decided, calm, yet energetic, protest. If there is any tract which does this, I have not had the good fortune to see it. The want of some satisfactory tract on the Society's list is the more embarrassing, as I have met with none in any other quarter-none, I mean, fitted in style, length, and form of publication for parochial purposes for it